How to write a high quality software bug report

How to Write a High-Quality Software Bug Report?


Published on: 09 Sep 2020

By Somasundaram B 

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There is no way to underestimate the importance of writing a good software bug report. Regardless of the size and complexity of your app, writing an effective bug report means that you save a lot of time and energy when it comes to fixing bugs in the application.

Features of a High-Quality Software Bug Report

Unique identifier:

Your bug report should always be assigned a unique bug number, which will help identify the bug report in future. But, if you happen to use an automated bug-reporting tool, then this will be taken care of automatically.

Reproducibility:

The bug should be easily reproducible, failing which it will be harder to fix. In other words, a developer cannot fix what he/she cannot reproduce. This means that you have to mention the steps you took to reproduce the bug. All too often, software and application test engineers will make the mistake of skipping this process, which makes it hard for developers attempting to fix the bug.

Specificity:

It is important that you be very specific when creating a bug report. One of the best practices for creating a high-quality software bug report is creating a concise and coherent bug summary that communicates the key points of the bug report as a bulleted list.

It is also advised not to combine multiple problems in the same bug report even if they all seem to be linked, which will only further confuse those who are tasked with fixing the bug.

Highly detailed:

While it is important to be clear and concise when writing a bug report, it doesn’t mean one should leave out crucial details that could help with fixing the bug quicker. It is strongly recommended that the testers clearly state the application version, server configuration (if applicable) along with the test environment that they are working on in the bug report.

It is crucial for testers in app development companies to specify the version of the application where the bug was reproduced, along with the system/device configuration, operating system version, and web browser version as applicable. Failing to include such important information in the bug report will only result in delays with the bug fixing process.

Bug Severity:

Bug severity is a metric that estimates the impact of the bug on a software program or application. This is done on a scale that ranges from critical, as in a bug completely blocks all functionality of a software or application and interrupts business as usual, to low as in the bug is not a show stopper. This is an important tool that is used by testers to indicate the severity of a bug on the normal functioning of the application.

Bug Priority:

Bug priority is another important tool that is used to indicate the urgency of resolution of the bug for the business. A project manager normally sets bug priority using a scale similar as bug severity, which ranges from critical to low. When key features of a software or application do not work, bug priority and severity are assigned ‘critical’ status.

Expected Result and Actual Result:

It is not uncommon for testers to be vague in this area, which is why it is important to offer crucial information to make the bug report actionable. Rather than being vague in your assessment, as in, “button not functioning,” it’s best to be more specific to give the developers something more concrete to work on that will help fix the bug quicker. By providing ‘Expected Result’ and ‘Actual Result’, you makes it more explicit to the developer, wherein he/she is provided enough information to allow them to start investigating the problem.

Visual Proof:

Where possible, it is important that you also share visual proof with your development team. This proof can be in the form of videos, log files, and screenshots of the issue. In many cases, both screenshots and videos are included in a software bug report.

For instance, video is usually recommended in a bug report if there are certain complex or numerous steps needed to reproduce that bug. If the bug is easy to reproduce without any complex steps, then screenshots will usually suffice. It is important to note that log files need to be included in a software bug report no matter what the issue is.

It is recommended that in application crashes, both crash log dumps and system logs be included so that developers are not left in the lurch when it comes to resolving the issue.

The above features are necessary elements in a software bug report that allows software development engineers to reproduce the bug consistently and thereby fix it. Of course, some of the details here may vary depending on the project and the bug tracking software, but hopefully this gives you a good idea of what comprises a high-quality software bug report.

Somasundaram B  Somasundaram B