Reporting bugs with a mobile app or website is the most important job that QA has. When QA testers find bugs, the issues need to be communicated with consistency and clarity. Since the Agile QA process is all about moving fast, developers won’t always have time to follow up with QA about every little detail. But how do you follow best practices for reporting bugs?
If a bug report provides the right level of detail, it paves the way for:
- Developers to work on the proper fix
- Project/product managers to prioritize bug fixes
- QA testers to avoid duplicate reporting
- Ensuring that QA tests the bug fix correctly
Best Practices for Reporting Bugs
Include as much information as possible. Okay, so mentioning the color of the t-shirt you were wearing when you found the bug might not be helpful. But the more details you can provide about the bug scenario, the easier it will be for a developer to identify and fix it. For example, does it only happen when using a VPN? Is it Chrome-specific? Further, are free and paid accounts affected? Include these type of details in your bug report whenever possible.
If it’s a critical bug, sound the alarm. Bug reports can get lost in JIRA until the next Sprint Planning session. (Learn more about the Jira QA workflow and best practices.) So if the bug in question is serious and user-facing (for example, a crash in the live App store version), it’s a good idea to go above and beyond creating a ticket. In addition to throwing a bug report in Jira, you can Slack the URL to a product manager to make sure they’re in the loop.
Include screenshots and/or video when possible. Much like a regular picture, a screenshot is worth a thousand words. Since some bugs are hard to reproduce, having visual evidence can make a developer’s life easier. This will also save hours of back-and-forth attempts to clarify the bug scenario.
Estimate the severity of the bug. Ultimately, a product manager might change the severity. But if you can provide an estimate when creating the bug report, it will help the whole team prioritize fixes during the next Sprint Planning. For example, see How to Prioritize Bug Fixes.
Bug Report Template
The formats below provide bug report examples for both mobile and web. Using these templates, you can write bug reports that will give your developers and product managers everything they need.
Steps to Reproduce:
- Tap the menu icon top left to expand the menu
- Select “Settings” from the menu
- Tap the “First Name” field
- Delete the text in the field
- Type new text, such as a different name
- Tap “Save” in top right
A pop-up comes up saying “Error: resource not found.”
Screen should refresh, and the new saved name should be present in “First Name” field.
macOS High Sierra – version 10.13.3
13″ Macbook Pro
Chrome – version 68.0.3440.106
Steps to Reproduce:
- Open Chrome
- Go to [website URL]
- Click the top nav link labeled “Shop”
- Select the category labeled “Seasonal”
- Observe the products that are featured in the slider
It shows Jasmine Green Tea (SKU #87193) and Orange Blossom Herbal Tea (SKU #81239).
The slider should show Pumpkin Spice Coffee (SKU #74814) and Apple Cider Tea (SKU #98138) between September and November.
The Importance of Bug Reports
Following a bug report template like the one above ensures that your tickets will be consistent. It also allows other team members to get necessary information quickly. For example, if someone wants to know what operating system(s) are affected, they can quickly glance at that line. It won’t be buried in a paragraph of text — or even worse, missing altogether.
Combining a helpful and reliable template with general best practices will leave your team with bug reports that are efficient and helpful. For QA, finding bugs is second nature — and now documenting them can be too!
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