How-To Open a “Good” Bug Ticket

How-To Open a “Good” Bug Ticket

90% of a bug correction’s success depends on how the ticket is written.
Badly written ticket always lead to bad corrections.

Here is a true story about a badly written ticket report that went wrong.
(Names and colors have been modified to protect the culprits.)

William is a project manager. While testing a web application, he notices that under some circumstances a textbox that is supposed to be red, (expected behavior), appears to be green, (found behavior).
To report the problem, William creates a new bug ticket on “grasshopper”, (the ticket system), saying:
“The text is green!”

Meanwhile, Steve the developer is notified about this newly created ticket. Testing the reported behavior, he sees the textbox in red, (which is the expected behavior). Because Steve and william’s work environments are different, (different OS, different browser, different user profile…), they do not get to experience the web application in the same way.
Reading William’s ticket, “The text is green!”, Steve deduces that the text has got to be green. So he does what he thinks to be the right thing to do and changes, irreversibly, the text’s color to green.

And the problem kept getting bigger!

To avoid this, here are some rules that, unlike spoons, shall never be infringed when writing a bug ticket:

  • Always write an explicit Title.
    Write a full sentence, do not just drop words. by this I mean put a Subject + Verb + Object.
  • Always give the full URL.
    If there are several servers (production, pre-production, development…) this could just save your life.
  • Always attach a Screenshot with annotations.
    If you are using Mac OS, use ⌘⇧4, then preview.app to add your comments.
  • Always send a reference document that explains what is expected from the other party (specifications document, contract, technical document, etc) with page and paragraph numbering.
  • Always explain carefully the expected behavior.
  • Always explain carefully the found behavior.
  • Always give details about the used operating system and specify which version you use
    (eg. “MacOS 10.8, Build 12A269”)
  • Always give details about the browser you use and specify its version number
    (eg. “Google Chrome Version 20.0.1132.57”)
  • Don’t ever be shy.
    Do not hesitate to add anything you might find relevant (screen size, connexion, user profile…).

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Benjamin Bellamy

Paris, Beirut, NYC & Agen // e-commerce, social media, open-source & geek // follow me on twitter: @benjaminbellamy.

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