A survey of developers finds that 84% believe their team is being held back from deploying software more often, and the most cited reason has to do with a domino effect caused by bugs that eat up all their coding time. The report comes from continuous code improvement platform Rollbar, which said that the key takeaways from its data reveals shortcomings in continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) software development cycles tied to three key trends. Error monitoring is falling short, leading to more time spent manually fixing errors, which in turn, leads to slower deployments due to developers being unable to work on new projects.
“In an effort to provide a stellar customer experience, developers are spending up to 40% of their time on testing and quality assurance. Yet, software is never perfect, and the pursuit of perfection acts as a barrier to iteration and innovation,” said Cory Virok, CTO and co-founder at Rollbar.
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The key trends mentioned above are a causal chain of delays, and it all starts with monitoring software for errors and bugs, which 88% of developers said falls short. The reasons for the shortcomings were topped by having to manually respond to errors, which 39% cited as a problem. Thirty-six percent reported it taking too long to find contextual information needed to fix errors, and 31% said tools traditionally used to monitor for errors don’t focus on code health.
Aside from existing tools not being sufficient to streamline bug hunting, nearly all respondents said those tools weren’t even the source of their bug reports: 88% report their initial knowledge of bugs and errors coming from users. Even worse, 26% said users were taking to social media to report bugs, leaving a lasting paper trail that can be seen by current and future users, as well as competitors, causing potential customer loss even after issues are fixed.
With developers forced to spend more than a third of their work time fixing bugs, the next trend gets added to the pile–they’re spending too much time fixing things. “Many of those we surveyed say they spend a good chunk of their time fixing bugs. That’s thousands of hours spent not working on features or innovations. It’s not only hurting their productivity but also their wellbeing, causing frustration or worse,” Rollbar said in the report.
Thirty-two percent said they spend up to 10 hours a week fixing bugs, 16% spend up to 15 hours, and 6% spend up to 20 hours a week fixing bugs, leading to what Rollbar claims is “thousands of hours spent every week fixing instead of writing new code.”
Developers report that fixing bugs makes them feel frustrated, overwhelmed, burned out, resentful and that they want to quit. Fifty-two percent said they could use the time they spend hunting down and fixing bugs building new features and functionality instead.
The end result is the third trend Rollbar mentions: Deployments are being slowed down, ultimately leading to dissatisfied customers and company leaders. Developers overwhelmingly lack the resources to have confidence in their deployments, the report found, and 86% said there’s one way the problem could be solved—better tools for detecting and fixing code errors.
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In addition, 36% said they need bigger teams, 38% want improved project management, and 30% said they need additional financial resources.
Rollbar concludes that CI/CD, a crucial element of success for enterprises that release software as a core part of their business model, is being hampered by “too many companies and their development teams still [having] a major blindspot when it comes to errors in their code.” Developers, Rollbar said, are reporting that error mitigation is a major Achilles heel, and addressing it needs to be a priority in 2021.