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Why does software have bugs?

* Miscommunication or no communication - as to specifics of what an application should or shouldn't do (the application's requirements).
* Software complexity - the complexity of current software applications can be difficult to comprehend for anyone without experience in modern-day software development. Multi-tier distributed systems, applications utilizing multiple local and remote web services applications, data communications, enormous relational databases, security complexities, and sheer size of applications have all contributed to the exponential growth in software/system complexity.
* Programming errors - programmers, like anyone else, can make mistakes.
* Changing requirements (whether documented or undocumented) - the end-user may not understand the effects of changes, or may understand and request them anyway - redesign, rescheduling of engineers, effects on other projects, work already completed that may have to be redone or thrown out, hardware requirements that may be affected, etc. If there are many minor changes or any major changes, known and unknown dependencies among parts of the project are likely to interact and cause problems, and the complexity of coordinating changes may result in errors. Enthusiasm of engineering staff may be affected. In some fast-changing business environments, continuously modified requirements may be a fact of life. In this case, management must understand the resulting risks, and QA and test engineers must adapt and plan for continuous extensive testing to keep the inevitable bugs from running out of control - see 'What can be done if requirements are changing continuously?' in the LFAQ. Also see information about 'agile' approaches such as XP, in Part 2 of the FAQ.
* Time pressures - scheduling of software projects is difficult at best, often requiring a lot of guesswork. When deadlines loom and the crunch comes, mistakes will be made.

egos - people prefer to say things like:

'no problem'
'piece of cake'
'I can whip that out in a few hours'
'it should be easy to update that old code'

Instead of:
'that adds a lot of complexity and we could end up
making a lot of mistakes'
'we have no idea if we can do that; we'll wing it'
'I can't estimate how long it will take, until I
take a close look at it'
'we can't figure out what that old spaghetti code
did in the first place'

If there are too many unrealistic 'no problem's', the
result is bugs.

* Poorly documented code - it's tough to maintain and modify code that is badly written or poorly documented; the result is bugs. In many organizations management provides no incentive for programmers to document their code or write clear, understandable, maintainable code. In fact, it's usually the opposite: they get points mostly for quickly turning out code, and there's job security if nobody else can understand it ('if it was hard to write, it should be hard to read').
* Software development tools - visual tools, class libraries, compilers, scripting tools, etc. often introduce their own bugs or are poorly documented, resulting in added bugs.

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