How to Write a Quality Bug Report

How to Write a Quality Bug Report
July 07 08:19 2020  

Create your bug reports like a pro, so your colleagues have no doubt you are one. In this article, we won’t just provide you with a few hints on bug reporting principles, structure, and etiquette. Here you’ll find the answer to the fundamental question regarding what information developers REALLY want you to include in the bug report.

What is a Bug Report?

*Given that you are looking for a bug reporting template, we assume you are already familiar with the meaning of the “bug” term. Anyway, it is a programming flaw producing an incorrect result.

A bug report is a basic way for software users to inform the developers of the problems they ran into. Apart from the primary purpose, it also provides value for a cross-departmental use. For instance, management gets updates on the product development quality; technical writers collect background information for developing troubleshooting manual entries; the customer relationship management department gains helpful insights for post-sale user support and required customer training.

However, no one would be able to leverage the hard-earned data if the report is reduced to a simple “Houston, We Have a Problem”. Not to disappoint the Mission Control Center, you should approach this task following particular requirements, and, if necessary, using bug reporting tools. Let’s start with the core characteristics of a quality bug report, which are:

  • Explicitness (your report should be specific about the problem, unambiguous in terms of the flaw severity, and detailed with regard to the bug behavior);
  • Compactness (go for the essential and skip the noise);
  • Uniqueness (check whether the occurred problem has already been listed. If so, consider adding information to the existing report).

Dos and Don'ts of Bug Reporting

Bug Report Structure

Another important rule of bug reporting is to keep in mind that you are a software user and not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Even if you believe the thrill of the bug hunting process is identical to the Adventure of the Speckled Band, the developers would prefer the report to start right after the “Elementary!” part. Therefore, there is a set-in-stone list of features they consider critical for the bug fixing process, which are:

Bug Reporting Structure

Bug Reporting Etiquette

The saying “you are what you write” is equally relevant both for bestselling novelists and software testers. Concise reporting of nasty bugs earns you a good reputation. However, the tone of your writing matters too. Reports that seem rude, blaming or petty create a negative impression among the readers. Here, we provide you with the basic principles of courteous bug reporting:

  • Be careful of your tone as every developer you criticize will eventually see the report;
  • Don’t edit the existing bug reports without the owners’ permission; whenever you add anything, put your initials and the current date;
  • Don’t use the bug-tracking systems to monitor other developers’ and testers’ performance however tempting it seems;
  • Ask before reporting bugs if invited for private testing;
  • Make personal contacts with developers who will read your reports so you have no choice than making your writing more thoughtfully worded and easier to decode.

Conclusion

The process of debugging does not start at the developer’s computer, performing intricate actions over the code to the amazement of the spectators. No, it is always preceded by a big surprise, often unpleasant, when the software stops working as expected. Therefore, debugging starts with a bug report: explicit, compact, unique, filled with evidence, and politely written. Yes, this is your chance to save the day. This is how you get the opportunity to protect the reputation of your company, developers’ dignity, and user satisfaction. Don’t waste it!

Let Us Help You!

We hope that this article helped you to clarify the tricky process of bug reporting. To get more information about Software Testing & QA, check out our services or chat with us right away.

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Yulia Lomanova
Yulia Lomanova

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