Why Your Bug Reporting is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It)

Software bugs are chaotic but an inseparable element from a developer’s life, it’s a given. It all starts with spotting, tracking, and reporting flaws which is a blend of software complexity, deadlines, misinterpretation, communication gaps, and human errors. 

In this blog, we are going to take you through the ins and outs of everything related to software bugs. 

Let’s start!

What is Bug Reporting?

A bug is an unwanted and flawed element that is problematic for any PC’s hardware and software’s health. Bugs are unforeseen and unexpected errors that appear as hurdles to cause any software to run in an unexpected and unusual manner.

It’s executed after stringent lines of codes are written and run by the developers in its testing phase. The entire method of evaluation, monitoring, and tracking to what’s out of line gets captured in a bug report.

Identifying what’s the origin of the bug and finding effective ways to erase it out of the system is the whole point of bug reporting. It is a complex process of spotting errors, faults, and failures in any software development process. 


Good vs. Bad Bug Reports 

 

Now there’s a twist. Every software will have bugs no matter how critical of a programmer you are. This does not reflect your incompetence but proves there’s a human behind a fully functional digital product like apps and websites. 

So if you ask, are all software bugs bad? No! But, If yes, why don’t we hear about the good ones often and are always left to deal with the bad ones? 

Because the bad software bugs are enough to make people switch from your website and uninstall the apps you spent months building. So you’ve got to fix that! 

On the flip side, good bugs bring your attention to errors which you might have sidelined or something you never came across. So you end up learning to tackle a similar kind of bug situation for the next time. 

Now that we know the importance of good bugs and the utmost necessity to remove the bad ones, let’s find out what sets a good and effective bug report apart from a bad one.

good bug report vs bad bug report

Why Does A Bug Report Fail?

If your bug report always gets discarded and the administration keeps tossing it back to you with comments like – need re-working or need to discuss this; there’s a high probability you have been doing it wrong all this while. 

Before you repeat the same mistakes on loop, pause for a while and reflect on what’s wrong that you are doing, and try to rectify it. 

Here are the main concerns which cause your bug reports in failing to make a mark:-

  1. Lack of Clarity in Context: Any good bug report should be self-explanatory that leaves no concern unaddressed. And to create such a report, you need to have clarity first hand about the context. Try to explain what went wrong, how the incident took place, and what needs to be done next with your software.
  2. Not Being Specific: A bug report needs to be informative and insightful. Being specific to the challenges needs to be put across in graphic detail that ensures clear and concise actionable measures. Stop using generalist statements which can mean multiple things and confuse others.For example – Saying “system crashing” is a broad statement and does not focus on anything concrete. Instead, drill more and use statements like “system crashing when the user tries to open the camera”.
  3. Duplicacy Of Work Via Reporting Invalid Bugs: How annoying it gets when you spend a good amount of time catching a bug but that ends up showing an “invalid” error? You need to understand the system is designed in a way to overwhelm you. So every time you heed on to the bug tracking system, instead of reporting it right away, cross-check and then proceed. It will save you as well as the company’s time.

How to Write Effective Bug Reports?

Writing effective bug reports need not be a hefty task, provided you do it strategically. In the end, if your reports explain every – why, where, and how; there’s no way you will be required to re-work on the document. 

Listed below are a few quick tips and tricks to help you get started with nailing your next bug report document:

  1. Start with a structure: Define a structure and try to make everything crystal clear. Pay special attention to the titles, summary, and bug descriptions for a quick glance and scannability to the one who’s viewing your report. 
  2. Check for reproducibility: Re-check your bug tests and confirm if the bug spotted is even reproducible or not. Once you are sure, include it in your report with valid points. 
  3. Use the hit and trial method: Make sure to check the bugs in different formats and platforms to be utterly sure. The more resources you have to back up your observations, the better it gets for you and the company.
  4. Keep the language simple: A bug report needs to be simple to grasp. Use conversational and easy to comprehend language. Be specific, explain the issue in detail, use bullets to explain multiple bug fixes.
  5. Trim unnecessary information: If you feel there’s too much information that is not necessary or has already been stated before, trim down the extra information.
  6. Review before sending: Give a quick read to your bug report to be sure of whatever you have jotted down makes complete sense and is not repetitive.
  7. Attach snapshots: No one will ever complain if you share pictures to support what you write in the report. This lets the reader follow the issue in a visual aspect.


Final Words

Now that you know what bug reporting is all about, make an attempt to curate reports which all your peers, as well as management, can easily decode. 

Also, make sure your bug report addresses 3 major pain points:

  • Identify where the bug is swirling around your code
  • Enables a seamless run of the software without any hiccups
  • Informs you to test and fix the bug to get it out of the system 

    On that note, happy bug reporting! 

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Originally Published September 24th, 2021, Updated September 27th, 2021
KK patel

KK patel is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. W3Dart being his brainchild, KK has always been a proactive problem solver. His tech prowess, combined with his leadership skills, led to the creation of this unique and powerful feedback tool. He KK patel loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.