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Bug Report


When a software is under testing, there are miscellaneous procedures and activities that are performed by the team of testers to validate the quality of the software product. During these stages, the team also develops a variety of documents and reports that are later delivered to the client along with the completed product. Bug report is among these reports and documents, which are prepared by the team to monitor and document bugs, defects, and any other discrepancies encountered by them while testing the software.

What is a Bug Report?

Prepared during the process of software testing, a bug report is an immensely important document that assists testing team monumentally. This report, keeps a log of all the defects, bugs, errors, and other discrepancies found while testing the software and reports them to the responsible individual, who can take appropriate corrective measures to resolve them. In short, bug report is a post-testing documentation work, which is prepared and delivered to the concerned team of professionals to inform them about the quantity and quality of bugs explored during the course of testing along with some other useful information.

This type of artifact ensures that the software development team or other concerned members are made aware of all the defects and issues present in the software product, so that they may be either corrected or removed. Sometimes, these bug reports are also accompanied by the possible solutions in removing or fixing those bugs based on the tester's expertise and experience.

Significance of Bug Report in STLC:

Writing bug reports while testing the software is usually overlooked by majority of software testers around the world. However, it is an extremely significant procedure that can assist software testers and developers immensely. A well-written bug report reduces the time in finding and resolving defects and makes the process quick and cost effective. Bug report is an effective medium for conveying the outcomes of testing to the development team, such as status of the bugs found, which can help them analyze the bugs and accordingly prepare a plan to mitigate or remove them.

Reporting bugs effectively is essential for successfully resolving and fixing bugs in the system as well as for improving its quality and functionality. However, if the quality work is not performed over the bug report, then the possibility of the development team to miss or skip a defect or more increases tenfold. Moreover, it can also hamper the harmonious relation between the testing and development team. Thus, it may be interpreted that the fixation of the bugs is directly proportional to effective bug reporting.

Format for Bug Report:

To ensure that bugs and defects are resolved and fixed accurately and completely, it is vital for software testers to prepare a well documented and an informative bug report that offers clear and concise details about the bug as well as other discrepancies that require attention of the developers. Therefore, here is a format for bug report, which is though not a standard one but is followed by testers across the globe.

  • Bug Identifier: A unique identity or number is assigned to each bug, which helps the team differentiate it from others.
  • Project: Here, the team defines the name as well as features of the project.
  • Product: Name of the product.
  • Build Number: Reflects the build, where the bug is discovered.
  • Path: Describes the path or steps, to reproduce the bug.
  • Severity: High or Medium or Low.
  • Priority: High or Medium or Low.
  • Assigned to: Developer's name or the person, to whom, it is reported.
  • Reported by: The name of the tester who reported the bug is also provided in the report.
  • Reported on: Date of the report.
  • Bug Status: The status of the bug is described here, such as resolved or unresolved.
  • Source URL: To help developers locate the issue easily a source URL is provided.
  • Steps to Reproduce: The steps that helped testers detect the defect are defined, which can be replicated by the development team later for resolving the issues.
  • Actual Result: What has been actually received as an output.
  • Expected Result: The output/result that was desired and expected by the team is mentioned for developers reference.
  • Test Environment: Hardware, software, frameworks and tools, involved.
  • Bug description: To help developers understand the bug, a brief description is provided about the bug. Details about its cause, the place it was found, etc. are also defined.
  • Attachment: Any sort of video, audio, screen-shots or document, in support, to the explored bug.

Characteristics of an Effective Bug Report:

A bug can be reported in a variety of ways, but the most effective way to communicate defects and bugs to developers is through a bug report. This report, prepared during the early stages of software testing, includes a detailed summary of all the encountered defects and offers a brief about their cause, steps to recreate them, and at time the ways to resolve them. Other characteristics of an effective bug report are:

  • Follows a set format: An effective bug report usually follows a set format for defining important details about the bugs and defects detected by the team.
  • Consist precise details: The details and information included in the document are specific and precise and can be understood easily by the developers as well as by the client.
  • Is reproducible: The report is prepared and written in such a manner that it can be reproduced and recreated effortlessly.
  • Quotes relevant examples: A constructive bug report consists of various examples, which solidify the relevance of defects and other bugs.
  • Defines number of bugs: The defects mentioned in the report are numbered, which help developers in tracking them.

Tips for Writing a Bug Report:

We are presenting some of the valuable points, which may help in making a bug report, effective.

  • Be specific, in writing the report. Do not try to involve, any useless or irrelevant fact.
  • Report the bug, immediately, as soon as it gets detected.
  • Prepare the report, in detail. This step ensures that the developers are being provided with the plentiful amount of data so as to empower them to make use of the facts and the information as per their needs.
  • Try to replicate the explored defects just before going for the bug reporting process. This step helps in gaining confidence in the existence of the bug in the software product.
  • Give step by step complete approach to reproduce the defects, which can be used by the development team, in order to fix it. If it can’t be reproduce by the development team, then the reported bug is of no use.
  • Test the same bug occurrence on other similar modules to validate its cause.
  • Reviewing the built report at least once before submitting it.
  • The report should be written in a comprehensive and understandable manner.
  • It should also include a brief and meaningful bug summary.
  • The bugs should be reported in an polite and gracious manner.

Popular Bug Tracking/Reporting Tools:

Nowadays, automated tools are revolutionizing the realm of IT industry and changing the ways people perform numerous tasks. Similarly, the process of bug reporting which was earlier executed manually is now being performed with the assistance of variety of automated tools present in the market. These tools make the process quick and help testers prepare a report with accurate and detailed information. Hence, some of the most popular bug tracking/reporting tools are:

  1. Plutora Test.
  2. Backlog.
  3. Mantis Bug Tracker.
  4. Trac.
  5. HP ALM/Quality Center.
  6. FogBugz.
  7. Rational ClearQuest.
  8. The Bug Genie.
  9. Request Tracker.
  10. eTraxis.
  11. Bugnet.
  12. Lighthouse.
  13. BugHost.
  14. Collabtive.
  15. Bugzilla.
  16. JIRA.
  17. Zoho Bug Tracker.
  18. RedMine.