By Chris, 07/11/2013, in Engineering management
Writing good bug reports is the difference between actually seeing your bug get fixed and sending protracted emails over the course of a week convincing a developer that there is, in fact, a bug. By far the most important information you can provide in a bug report are clear reproduction steps. Here's my guidance on how to write these:
So good reproduction steps look like this:
- Log in as user [email protected] with password "foo" on the live website
- View the dashboard
- Note the dollar amount in the "Your subscription plan" area in the lower left
- Hit the "pay" button next to that amount
Expected Result "Today's Payment" is populated in step 1 of the checkout form
Actual Result "Today's Payment" is blank
Yes this can be a little tedious, but if you get in the habit of doing it, it only takes like 30 seconds more per bug, and if it takes longer it's because it's forcing you to actually reproduce the thing consistently, which is the whole point in the first place.
And using this numbered, step-wise, idiot-proof format will cut down on the back-and-forth between you and whoever is fixing the bug by an order of magnitude. So it's ultimately a huge time saver and a great habit to get into. You life will contain 25% fewer bugs and developers will hug you.
Bonus tip: Whenever possible, provide screenshots!