Predicting Bug-Fixing Time: An Empirical Study of Commercial Software Projects

Hongyu Zhang, Liang Gong, and Steve Versteeg

Tsinghua University, China; CA Technologies, Australia

Track: Software Engineering in Practice
Session: Bug Detection
For a large and evolving software system, the project team could receive many bug reports over a long period of time. It is important to achieve a quantitative understanding of bug-fixing time. The ability to predict bug-fixing time can help a project team better estimate software maintenance efforts and better manage software projects. In this paper, we perform an empirical study of bug-fixing time for three CA Technologies projects. We propose a Markov-based method for predicting the number of bugs that will be fixed in future. For a given number of defects, we propose a method for estimating the total amount of time required to fix them based on the empirical distribution of bug-fixing time derived from historical data. For a given bug report, we can also construct a classification model to predict slow or quick fix (e.g., below or above a time threshold). We evaluate our methods using real maintenance data from three CA Technologies projects. The results show that the proposed methods are effective.