Identifying problems with an app or site is one of the most important jobs that QA has. Commonly referred to as “bugs,” these issues need to be communicated with consistency and clarity. Since the Agile 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.
  • QA testers to avoid duplicate reporting. (It also helps QA ensure that they test 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 foundBest Practices for Reporting Bugs (picture shows a hand holding a coffee cup on a desk, and another hand resting on a laptop trackpad) 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. 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, Slack the URL to a product manager to make sure they’re in the loop.

Bug Report Best Practices (picture shows a desk with a coffee cup and a laptop, and a person's hand on the laptop trackpad)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.

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.

Mobile

Operating System:

iOS 11.3

Device:

iPhone 7

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Tap the menu icon top left to expand the menu
  2. Select “Settings” from the menu
  3. Tap the “First Name” field
  4. Delete the text in the field
  5. Type new text, such as a different name
  6. Tap “Save” in top right

Actual:

A pop-up comes up saying “Error: resource not found.”

Expected:

Screen should refresh, and the new saved name should be present in “First Name” field.

Web

Operating System:

macOS High Sierra – version 10.13.3

Device:

13″ Macbook Pro

Browser:

Chrome – version 68.0.3440.106

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Go to [website URL]
  3. Click the top nav link labeled “Shop”
  4. Select the category labeled “Seasonal”
  5. Observe the products that are featured in the slider

Actual:

It shows Jasmine Green Tea (SKU #87193) and Orange Blossom Herbal Tea (SKU #81239).

Expected:

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!