Software Bug Fix WBS

Quick Summary
WBS for an efficient but reasoned bug-fix project, which can be expanded for a minor enhancement or re-engineering effort or used as a checklist for small clean up projects. The included Word file provides an overview and explanation of the MS Project WBS.

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What this is

The Software Bug Fix Work Breakdown Structure, or SW Bug Fix WBS, is a simple WBS that can be used for very small software projects, software maintenance or enhancement projects or bug fix (a.k.a. - "defect correction") tasks. The WBS will be overkill for some very small projects, but in those cases can still be used as a checklist. The scope is targeted at projects involving primarily one person, with some additional support from other team members or support persons, such as a project manager, project leader, SW QA Manager, etc.

Each company has its own method or philosophy on how to approach bug fixes. This document does not cover the complete range of possibilities but provides a typical approach and a good reference. The WBS is written in mostly "common" language and terminology. It can be used by a project manager or a development manager as a starting point.

NOTE: We also have a series of Software Release Life Cycle process documents for the large, complex, multi-project, releases involving large groups of people.

Why it's useful

Sometimes the project manager needs a document for discussion with various members of the team. If some of the software project members are doing planned bug fixes, minor re-engineering projects, small enhancements or on-going system maintenance, the project manager can use the WBS as a schedule template for the team members performing these activities.

This file can be used as an educational tool for new software engineers and a "best practice" reminder tool for more experienced developers. When tailored to your environment, it will be a very detailed step-by-step of your process of how your group believes defect correction should be handled. Many of the steps are designed to ensure that changes are reviewed appropriately before implemented, that bug fixing work is not duplicated, that impacts of the bug fix implementation on the existing system operation are considered.

How to use it

The SW Bug Fix WBS can be used as a template by any department performing software maintenance or bug fixing activities in any programming language. The tables in the Word file provide the sections of a Work Breakdown Structure, along with the task titles and descriptions of each task. This file can be used alone; or if you plan to use MS Project for creating your WBS and schedule, you can use our related MS Project file with the same Work Breakdown sections and tasks.

Even if you don't use this as a detailed "planning tool" in the normal sense of a WBS, you can use it as a checklist or guideline for steps that should be taken by your development or maintenance team members.

  • Review the WBS. An explanation of each activity is provided.
  • Delete any task that will not be used for your situation. For example, there are some task entries dealing with checking out defect reports from the defect tracking system (or checking out bug reports from the database). If the company does not use a defect tracking system, then just delete these task entries.
  • Adjust the order of activities if needed to fit your situation. For instance, if you believe the "bug generating code" review during the investigation and analysis portion may be too early in the sequence and more investigation is necessary before the engineer knows what code to look at, just move the task to a later part of the investigation effort.

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