[5 Tips] How to Write a Quality Bug Report?

[5 Tips] How to Write a Quality Bug Report?

If a bug report is not properly written, it can complicate things between the QA (quality assurance) department and the developers instead of helping resolve the issue. To help you avoid that, in this blog post, we will look at some tips for writing a good quality, effective bug report.

But, before we get to that, let’s quickly take a look at what a bug report is. You probably have an idea about it already, but let’s review it again just for the sake of clarification (yep, that sounded fancy).

Contrary to what it sounds like, a bug report is not some National Geographic document containing stuff about beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers. Rather, a bug report is a detailed exposition of a particular problem or issue that occurs in a software program.

A bug report is written and sent by the QA department to the developers to inform the latter about the details and particulars of the problem. Once the developers understand the issue, they can get started with fixing it.

Now that we’re done with that, let’s move on to looking at the five tips that you can follow for writing a good-quality bug report.

Writing a Good Quality Bug Report

1. Be Sure to Give the Report a Good Title

To begin with, the first thing that you have to take care of is the title. The title of a bug in the report helps the developer get an idea about the nature and type of the error in question.

When writing the title, you should make it as descriptive as possible. Don’t resort to slang or any sort of words that don’t convey the exact nature of the bug.

For example, if you find a bug with the search function of an online SEO analytics tool, you don’t want to write it like this:

"Some funky glitch with search."

This doesn’t convey what the problem is. Granted that you have to keep the title short, you still want to utilize it as best as you can. In the same example above, a good title for the bug report would be:

“Inaccurate results being shown after a query search.”

2. Keep Your Words Simple and Easy

When writing your bug report, you don’t want to give the developer a tough time reading what you’ve written. You don’t want to send the bug report with some really hard words in it, and then go over to the developer half an hour later just to hear him say “Yeah, I just finished reading that first line”.

So, as a rule, in your bug report, keep the readability high by using short sentences and easy words. This may not sound like a big problem but take a gander here. Imagine if you write these sorts of sentences in your bug report:

“The realization and recognition of the incongruence and disparity between the input and the pre-supposed results have prompted us to consign this document to your department with the hope of securing an interlocution.”

Now, we don’t think that anyone will write this sort of stuff in a bug report (unless they’re doing a bit), but the example above should give you an idea of why we’re advising simplicity in the first place.

3. Provide a Short Summary at the Start

After writing the title, the next thing that you should include in the bug report is a summary covering the major aspects of the bug. The summary helps the receiving party i.e., the developer to quickly understand the issue and read the rest of the report in light of the preliminarily-mentioned facts.

If you want, you can even take this step at the very end. In other words, you can write your whole report and then come up with a summary. The benefit of this approach is that you will be less likely to miss anything and you will be able to cover all the points.

When it comes to actually writing the summary, there are two main methods that you can use. You can do it yourself i.e., manually, or you can take the help of an online summary generator.

Using a summary generator can be the better choice if you don’t have time to go through the entire report again. You can use the tool to get an extractive summary and then edit it yourself to remove any sort of abruptness or useless information.

The last part is important. While summary generators can be useful and all, they’re still tools and you have to treat them like it. Whatever output they give; you have to check and edit it before finalization.

4. Use Visuals and Images

When mentioning the details about the bug, don’t suffice to give a written explanation. Words alone can be a little difficult to visualize. To help your developer understand the problem better, you should add screenshots showing the bug in action.

To make the visuals even more effective, you can also add arrows and underlines to show the developer where the problem is occurring. But, then again, don’t overdo it.

Don’t make it look something like this:

5. Describe the Exact Input and Output Values

This tip applies if the bug is occurring in a process that requires input from the user. Examples of such a process would be an online calculator, a word counter, or something similar.

When creating a bug report for these types of software, you should describe the exact type and value of the input that you provided as well as the erroneous result that the process yielded.

If you provide all these values, the developer will be able to better understand the nature of the problem. They could also deduce the exact issue simply by looking at the input and output.


And that wraps up our post.

Remember, writing a report does not necessarily mean that you have to make it long. The shorter you keep your report (while getting your message across, of course), the better.

If you follow the five tips mentioned above, you should be able to easily come up with concise and effective bug reports.

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