Ask yourself, what’s the most important step when it comes to solving a problem or an issue? There is only one correct answer—Understanding it. Having the proper understanding of the issue is half the job, actually the most important half. When you know exactly what’s wrong, you’ll be able to direct your efforts towards rectifying it and remain focused on the goal.
In software development, bug reports are crucial as they dictate your understanding of the problem. If it’s effective, the chances of getting everything right and delivering high quality will increase. So, it goes without saying that you need a foolproof way of tracking your issues. The right bug report software can help, but you need to make the most out of it by knowing what to do and what common mistakes to avoid.
Qualities of an Effective Bug Report
Writing a good bug report that covers all aspects of the issue and provides useful information efficiently is an art. It requires a combination of technical and communication skills as your target audience is the developer who quickly needs insight on the issues users face.
An effective bug report will always have the following characteristics.
1. Reports are specific
Bug reports need to be detailed but you don’t have to write an essay about the issues. Brevity is your friend. Summarize your reports and trim all the unnecessary information by focusing only on the problem at hand. However, ensure that you include important details like the description, expected/actual results and other key details your developers might need.
2. The bug has to be reproducible
Developers will never be able to fix the problem if they can’t see it. They can’t go through the entire code on your word alone. You need to include all the information regarding the system settings and the steps you took before encountering a specific bug. This would make it easier to identify the issue and work towards a solution.
3. The language is clear
You need to ensure that your bug report is not ambiguous. It should include important information about the bug in simple language and should not contain any unnecessary jargon. Bug reports that lack clarity can slow down the entire testing process and add unnecessary burden on the developers.
4. It mentions the priority
Not all issues or bugs are equal and it’s your job to identify their severity while creating your report. The industry uses five priority levels depending on how critical the problem is.
Naturally, the highest priority bug will be viewed/solved first because it’ll have the largest effect on the user experience. Using a bug monitoring and reporting tool can make this a bit easier as it’ll help you determine the impact of the defect and focus on the more important things first.
5. The bugs are identifiable
Finally, any effective bug report will always have a unique identification number for each bug. This would make it easier for the developers to identify the issues and maintain a record. Moreover, you’ll be able to avoid duplicate bugs – which unnecessarily burden the testing cycle – as well.
Once again, bug report software can help you manage this better. Most come with the ability to automatically assign a unique identification number every time you report a bug, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Common mistakes to avoid while creating a bug report
Not reporting the bug immediately
It’s important to start writing your bug reports as soon as possible. Effective reports need all the necessary details along with the steps required to reproduce the bug. Delaying the report poses a risk of missing out on a key detail the developers might need.
Sending in a bug report without the important details
A good summary, description, and other relevant information about the steps you took are essential for the developer to understand the problem. Don’t make any assumptions and include all relevant details in your report for the best results.
Using ambiguous sentences or format
Effective bug reports must clearly tell the developers about what is broken and how it impacts the product. You’d fail to deliver this information with vague statements and the wrong format. The more structured and clear your report is, the more chances your developers will have to resolve the issue.
Not reproducing the bug multiple times before reporting
Another common mistake people make is to not test the steps they have given to reproduce the issue. You must always double-check to see if the bugs are valid. Some bugs can be periodic as well. If you can’t reproduce them every time, mention that in the report as well.
Reporting multiple bugs together
One common mistake some beginners make is to combine similar types of bugs together. You have to avoid this if you want to ensure that your bug report is perfect and more actionable.
Reporting the bug without checking it on other browsers/modules
There are high chances that a bug on one platform will exist on others as well. Try to find out if that’s the case, so the particular problem can be completely eliminated from your product.
Criticizing the developers
Another common mistake some people make is to use language that shifts the blame on the developers. This is absolutely not acceptable. The whole point of the testing phase is to ensure that the end-user receives a bug-free product. Finding an error is part of the process, so refrain from criticizing or using a commanding tone. It will be demotivating and can also create an unhealthy work environment.
Bug reports are an essential document for any software team and writing one effectively is the primary responsibility of a tester. The bug monitoring and reporting process connect the developers, testers, and the manager in a team. For best results, managers need to facilitate the team by streamlining the process. One of the best ways to do that is to use bug reporting software like Kissflow Workflow.
The platform helps you minimize disruption, improve product longevity, enhance productivity, and ensure a smoother overall product experience. What are you waiting for? Try Kissflow Workflow for free.