In the context of software products, platform stability is a key factor for the success of systems. System failures can have serious consequences, directly impacting the user experience and generating additional costs for an organization[5]. In this post, we will explore the impact of system instability, caused by system errors, defects and failures, and why stability testing shouldn’t be overlooked.

Platform Instability

One way to understand a subject is by looking at its opposite, in this case platform instability.

Platform instability refers to inconsistent or unpredictable behavior that negatively impacts the user experience. Having problems in software architecture, development practices or infrastructure may lead to instability. Errors, defects, failures, and downtime can frustrate users, leading to decreased satisfaction and trust in the product [5]. Additionally, the costs associated with instability can be significant, including correction expenses and loss of development team productivity[1].

Now, considering a few real-world we have the Southwest airline reservation system crash in 2016, which resulted in the cancellation of thousands of flights and an estimated cost of $54 million [2]. Such scenario serves to underscore the importance of proactively and effectively addressing the causes of errors, defects and failures in information systems.

Let’s move further down this concept of instability, but this time looking at the elements that compose it, which we mentioned just now, Errors, defects and failures.

Errors, Defects, and Failures

Errors, defects and failures in the system can arise from various causes like code errors, hardware failures and configuration errors. When looking at these three words, one might think they are the same and tend to confuse these three concepts, which are entirely different. These concepts are: errors, defects, and failures. What sets them apart?

Errors are human mistakes that can occur at any stage of software development. Such mistakes while developing software may lead to an undesired behavior in the system at hand [5].

Defects can be defined as an imperfection in a component or system that may cause it to fail to perform the required functions[3].

And last, failures are manifestations of errors in software. They can cause the software to malfunction or behave in unexpected ways[3].

Now, those are things that we will encounter regardless of how much care we put into the development of our systems. Once we arrive to the production environment we will come across a diverse fan of scenarios that will put our applications to the test, so it’s almost inevitable to have bugs or run into errors and service disruptions every now and then. That being said, we can allocate some efforts into a strategy that can help us mitigate and catch some of those scenarios that lead to platform instability, and that’s testing automation.

Test Automation for Stability

Test automation is a crucial aspect to ensure the stability of the platform[8]. The test automation can significantly reduce the time spent and resources required, which can allow a higher frequency and coverage of tests. In turn, allows efficient detection and correction of errors and anomalies, working towards continuous improvement of system quality and stability.

Platform monitoring encompasses various aspects such as performance, analytics and bug tracking to maintain a successful digital ecosystem.


In this regard, tools like Cypress, Selenium, Appium, and Playwright can be utilized to automate and monitor stability metrics(Defect metrics, Test cases metrics, Performance metrics), thereby contributing to system reliability and consistency. In summary, test automation is a key element in ensuring platform stability, and its implementation can have a significant impact on system quality and availability.

However, this is only a preventive measure, and once our product is in the real world we will need to rely on other aspects to act upon situations that menace our system’s stability, one of those is system observability.

Importance of System Observability for Platform Stability

System observability gives us the ability to understand the state of a system from its results, which allows identifying unusual behaviors, preventing incidents and maintaining the efficiency and reliability of it[6].

Observability gives the team insights on how the system is operating in the productive environment. Observability allows us to identify why, when and how irregular behavior occurred, in addition to enabling the prevention of incidents. Having a clearly monitored system and using best practices for stability allows teams to have a greater understanding of what may be happening.

Having an observable system can help arm development teams with enough intel to address an issue causing downtime on it, to handle it as quickly as possible. Before we wrap things up, let’s call out a few other variables we can consider when it comes to improving our system’s stability.

Other variables to Improve Stability

One of the things to consider is the amount of resources available for our platform to operate. We should be wise when it comes to the operational costs of our system, meaning, that at the very least we should know how much load our system is capable of dealing with(load testing is particularly helpful on this front) and what strategies we have in place for our system to react whenever we ever surpass that threshold.

Additionally, Continuous and comprehensive platform monitoring is crucial to identify anomalies in real-time. This enables us to take preventive and corrective actions effectively and efficiently, ensuring platform stability and optimal performance. Monitoring also opens the door for the configuration of alarms that can alert the team about anomalies in the production environments that we should take care of if they ever occur.

Last but not least, one element that’s also important but slightly different than the previous ones, is to recognize the importance of a culture of quality in the development of software, where responsibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement are fostered to ensure the delivery of reliable and consistent products.

Closing Thoughts

Platform stability is critical to software success. By understanding the impact of instability, identifying the causes of errors and bugs, and applying best practices for testing and monitoring, we can ensure a reliable user experience and reduce the costs associated with instability. Errors, defects and system failures can have a major impact on the user experience, but to ensure system stability, it is important to implement effective testing and monitoring strategies and cultivate a culture of quality within the team.


  1. Software Engineering A Practicioner’s approach
  2. Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights are delayed after FAA lifts nationwide ground stop
  3. The Confusion: Error vs. Fault vs. Bug vs. Defect vs. Failure
  4. The importance of stabilizing your applications
  5. Software Testing – Bug vs Defect vs Error vs Fault vs Failure
  6. What is Observability? An Introduction
  7. Platform Monitoring
  8. 5 Benefits of Automated Testing and Why It Is Important