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How To Write A Good Bug

A reader gave mefusca9 flak for writing about automation way more than about testing. Okay. Guilty. So towards making amends for this fact, I give you, Brine’s guide to writing a good bug.

A good bug includes four things:

  • Title
  • Steps
  • Results
  • Impact

How to write a good bug:

1. Write the title last

A title is the most important part of a bug. A good title should convey all (or as much of) the information about the issue… to the point where reading the rest of the bug is unnecessary. And it should do so in as few words as possible.

I used to try to nail the title before writing anything else, but I found it just takes too much time. And I would usually end up rewriting it before submitting anyway. Write it last! I’ve found titles are much easier to write after you’ve written the bug itself.

2. Write concise steps to reproduce the issue

Steps should have just enough detail. Too little and it won’t be reproducible, too much and it can get confusing. If you find yourself writing a bug that has 10+ steps, you either have a very complex bug, or overly complex steps. This can also depend greatly on the bug’s audience and the preferences of the team. Still, keep it concise.

3. Describe the results and the expected results

This is the easiest part. After following your steps, what happened, and what did you expect to happen?

4. Define the impact of the issue:

You might think the impact of your bug is “high” (and what QA wouldn’t), but that term isn’t very useful, and certainly wouldn’t rate a whole section in a bug! No. The Impact section is where you try to PROVE the impact of a bug. This helps the writer because attempting to prove the impact of a bug requires proper regression. It also shows the reader what you’ve tried, and provides insight into the severity of the issue, and areas to verify upon being fixed.

For example:

  • Is there data loss?
  • Is there a workaround?
  • Does it occur on multiple environments?
  • Does it occur in Production
  • Does it occur on multiple browsers/apps/OSs?
  • Did it occur in the last build?

These questions show impact. They tell the reader just how bad, how far reaching, and/or how recoverable, the issue is.

Oh, and there’s one more thing…

4.5 Attach a screenshot

If the issue is cosmetic, it had better have a screenshot attached! Screenshots and/or movies can be worth the entirety of that classic cliché, a thousand words

fin

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