Report: Debugging Efforts Cost Companies $61B Annually

Report: Debugging Efforts Cost Companies $61B Annually

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Undo, a software failure replay platform provider, this week published a report in collaboration with a Cambridge Judge Business School MBA project that estimates 620 million developer hours a year are wasted on debugging software failures, at a cost of roughly $61 billion.

The report also notes software engineers spend on average of 13 hours to fix a single software failure.

According to the report, 41% identified reproducing a bug as the biggest barrier to finding and fixing bugs faster, followed by wiring tests (23%) and actually fixing the bug (23%). Well over half (56%) said they could release software one to two days faster if reproducing failures were not an issue. Just over a quarter of developer time (26%) is spent reproducing and fixing failing tests.

Whatever the source of the problem, it’s apparent to all a lot of time and money is being wasted on debugging software that could be put to far better use.

On the plus side, 88% of respondents said their organizations have adopted continuous integration (CI) practices, with more than 50% of businesses reporting they can deploy new code changes and updates at least daily. Over a third (35%) said they can make hourly deployments.

Undo CEO Barry Morris said the report makes it clear organizations need to be able to record software to reduce the amount of time it takes to find bugs. Unfortunately, even then finding a bug is still a labor-intensive process that can involve analyzing millions of lines of code. In the future, software replay systems will be infused with machine learning algorithms to accelerate the bug discovery process, he noted. As software becomes more instrumented, the observability data and metrics that machine learning algorithms require to detect patterns is becoming more accessible.

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