Save Time By Writing Better Bug ReportsFiled Under Quality Controls, Software Process
A few months ago I received the following bug report:
“CS-17: Search broken. Make search work like Google.”
Make search like Google, what the f@!# does that mean?
After an hour man-hunt for the project manager, another hour of conversation was spent discovering the actual problem. Collectively, 3 hours of my time were wasted clarifying a problem report that should have been explicit in the first place.
If time is spent creating and organizing bug reports (i.e. Jira) a minimum level of effort should be taken to making them helpful. This may seem obvious to a developer, but a client or QA will not always know your expectations for a good bug report. It is the responsibility of the developer to communicate (and teach) these expectations.
After receiving the (now a local cult favorite) Google bug report, I politely explained to my trusty QA that I would be much more productive in processing bug fixes if the corresponding reports came in the following fashion:
- Descriptive Title
- Screen shots (if available)
- Stack Trace (if available)
- Detailed Description
- Expected Results (Examples)
- User Role (anonymous, authenticated user, admin)
- Test Server
- Build Number
As an example, the report CS-17 was changed to:
CS-17: Search only returns results where all keywords exist and not where any of them exist
If I currently search the website for “blue whales”, I only see results for “blue whales”, and not “blue” or “whales”.
“Sea Horses” expected results should be pages seahorses.html, sea.html, and horses.html in that order.
Firefox and IE6
(QA Server) http://client.project.preview.codesqueeze.com
1.0.2614.30901 – 3/19/2007 9:25PM
This bug report is much better at telling the story of when, where, and how the search is not working correctly, plus I know some examples to test my fix against. Having the author take the needed 15 minutes to correctly write the bug report collectively saved the company 4 hours.
What do you expect from a good bug report?