Table of Contents
- What is a bug report?
- Why are bug reports important?
- Streamlines debugging process
- Prevents future bugs
- Keeps programs from being unusable
- How to create a bug report
- Step 1: Find a bug-reporting software
- Step 2: Name the report & describe the bug
- How to choose a good name for the bug report
- How to properly describe the bug
- Step 3: State how the bug can be recreated
- Step 4: Add additional information & a severity label
- How to decide what information to add
- How to determine the severity rating
- Step 5: Categorize the report & send it off
- Bug report templates
- Jira bug report
- ClickUp bug report
- Trello bug report
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Bug reports are a major aspect of software maintenance — engineers need to know what the actual bugs are in order to fix them. The best bug reports are those that include all the necessary details, such as steps for recreating the bugs and relevant screenshots. Your bug reports should be easy to understand and concise to prevent miscommunications.
There are many bug report templates available for those uncertain about how to format one. Most reports follow a similar layout in terms of what information to include. Manually detecting and reporting bugs can be quite time-consuming, so many companies use programs like Bugpilot, which can automate these processes and save you a lot of effort.
What is a bug report?
A bug report is simply a document that contains information about a software error. These reports are usually created by bug testers, who then submit the documents to relevant parties (e.g. PMs or developers). The aim of a bug report is to sufficiently explain what the bug is so developers can go about fixing it.
A bug report typically consists of:
- Device used
- Software/platform where the bug occurred
- Expected result vs actual result
- Steps for recreating the bug
- Screenshots or videos of the bug occurring
- Severity rating
Some companies use error monitoring software to aid in the bug-reporting process. For example, tools like Bugpilot can help you discover hidden bugs and auto-generate bug reports for you.
Why are bug reports important?
Streamlines debugging process
Creating comprehensive bug reports to address user-facing bugs speeds up the debugging process — developers get all the information they need in one simple document, which means they can move on to fixing the bugs quickly.
Prevents future bugs
Consistently reporting bugs can stop errors from piling up into a more serious issue. You can fix all the small bugs that get reported and prevent major ones from occurring in the future. 96% of users do not report bugs, so it’s important for you to take bug reporting into your own hands.
Keeps programs from being unusable
Bug reports allow developers to fix software errors more efficiently, which means your software won’t become inaccessible for long periods of time. Your customers rely on you to be available, so you should keep your services up and running if possible.
How to create a bug report
Creating the perfect bug report consists of quite a few steps — your main goal is to include all the relevant information in a detailed and concise manner. Remember that your bug report should be helping developers understand the problem so they can fix it.
Step 1: Find a bug-reporting software
First of all, you need a bug to report. Usually, testers will discover a bug while using the software. This can be very time consuming to do manually, so it’s best to use a tool like Bugpilot. It can help you automate this process by uncovering hidden bugs for you.
You can also use Bugpilot to create a bug-reporting widget, which makes it easier for users to report bugs they discover. This can encourage them to report bugs more often instead of leaving them to go unnoticed.
Step 2: Name the report & describe the bug
Once you’ve discovered a bug, it’s time to start actually writing out the bug report.
How to choose a good name for the bug report
Start by naming the report something appropriate — it should be related to the bug itself. Ensure the title isn’t too vague, such as ‘button not working’. Include more details, like what specific button was clicked or what browser was used.
However, the title should still be succinct, so don’t make it too long.
An example of a good bug report title: ‘Sign-up button leads to homepage — mobile only’
How to properly describe the bug
After naming the bug report, you should write a brief but detailed description of the bug. In this section, you have to explain what the bug is and how you found it. You should include details like the browser you used and the page you were on.
Don’t be too vague about any details — for example, a bad description would be ‘error occurs when loading screen.’ This doesn’t give the developer enough information to understand what the error is. The description should still be concise and not too long — no one has time to read an essay.
An example of a good description: When clicking the leftmost sign-up button on the pricing page using Chrome, it loads the homepage instead of the sign-up page. The other sign-up buttons on the pricing page still function correctly.
Step 3: State how the bug can be recreated
Now you have to include a clear list of steps for how the bug can be replicated. This is so developers know how to find the bug themselves and can help them figure out solutions for fixing the error. You should include information about how the software was supposed to function vs what actually happened.
You can also include any links you think will be helpful. For example, you can link an error page so developers know what exact bug they’re supposed to be replicating. Some steps may seem too obvious to include but they could be important for recreating the bug — it’s best to include it. This means noting down things like:
- Whether you were logged in/what account you were logged into
- The specific browser/device platform you used
- The buttons you pressed
A bad example of steps would be too short or not detailed enough, such as:
- Go on the website
- Click the button
- Expected: it leads to the sign-up page
- Actual: it leads to the homepage
A good example of steps:
- Open Chrome on mobile
- Go to www.examplewebsite.com and log in as Account101
- On the homepage, click the pricing tab
- On the pricing page, click the leftmost sign-up button
- Expected result: the sign-up page loads
- Actual result: the homepage loads. This only occurs on the pricing page. The sign-up buttons on the homepage still function as expected, as do the other two sign-up buttons on the pricing page.
Step 4: Add additional information & a severity label
Most of the bug report has been completed by now — you just have to add in any additional information you think will be useful, such as screenshots, screen recordings, and so on. You also have to add a severity label to let developers know how serious the bug is and whether it’s a priority fix.
How to decide what information to add
If possible, you should include visual proof of the bug so developers know what to look for. Visual proof includes screenshots and videos of the bug occurring. You can even annotate them to highlight the bug specifically. If relevant, you should include the URL in your screenshots if it helps the developers figure out what’s causing the bug.
If the bug only occurs when logged in as a certain user, include those account details so developers know how to accurately recreate the bug.
How to determine the severity rating
There are a few ways to determine how serious a bug is. The more a bug impacts the software’s functionality, the more severe it is — especially if it affects the customer experience. Bugs that are mostly cosmetic issues, such as images being displayed incorrectly, are less severe and should not be prioritized above functional errors.
Ask yourself what the core features of your software are — bugs that prevent those features from operating correctly should be of the highest priority. For example, if customers are unable to login, this stops them from using your entire software, so it should be labeled ‘critical’.
You can customize your severity ratings however you like. They just have to be easy to understand. Examples of severity labels include:
It’s best to stick to only a few severity labels to avoid overcomplicating things.
Step 5: Categorize the report & send it off
Finally, it’s time to categorize your report according to the type of bug and send it off to the right person. This could be a developer or project manager, depending on what stage you’re at in the bug life cycle.
Categorizing your bug could be as simple as stating whether it’s a design error or a functionality error. However, you could be more detailed and categorize it into performance and configuration errors. It depends on what system you want to set up.
Bug report templates
Jira bug report
ClickUp bug report
Trello bug report
Bug reports can come in many forms but usually follow a set format, including details such as bug descriptions and steps for recreating it. There are also bug report templates available for those unsure about what to include. Bug reports should always be written in a detailed and concise way to help developers fully understand the problem they’re dealing with.
Manually creating reports for every bug you find can be exhausting and time-consuming, which is why tools like Bugpilot are so useful. It automates one of the most costly aspects of bug resolution by automatically generating detailed technical bug reports for you. Try Bugpilot for free today to begin streamlining your bug resolution process.