Best Practice when opening new issues/bugs on a bug tracking system

When you open new issues (or bugs), you should always keep in mind that your team member is out of context, and it might be a bit difficult for him to understand what is the problem and what did you expect to happen. It’s your job to help him understand the problem faster and more easily, so he can fix it without wasting extra time (not to mention the frustration that an unclear issues might cause…).

Therefore, here is a general guideline that might help you with opening understandable issues (or bugs):

1. Try to be descriptive as possible. Instead if “Nothing is working” try “I’m clicking the button, and it doesn’t react”. That’s easier to understand. Don’t write 1,000 words on each issue thought. Keep them short and straight to the point. 

2. On issue’s title, start with the page title, then the name of the object and a short description of the problem last (e.g. “Homepage - contact form - submit button”). It will help the programmer to understand the context of the problem, and it will also help him manage few issues together (he will order the issues by title, and then he will see all issues addresses the same page grouped together). 

3. On the description field provide as much information as possible. Describe the problem and what did you expect to happen. Be descriptive! Attach a link to the exact page with the problem, and provide the browser type (Chrome / FireFox / IE / Opera etc.) & version. OS might be helpful sometimes as well. If the problem appears after you make some actions, describe your path so the programmer will be able to reproduce the bug (e.g. 1. Go to page X. 2. Click on the button 3. Type ‘xyz’ on form field A 4. Click the submit button). 

4. Don’t create 1 issue for many bugs together, even if they are all on the same page. The programmer should be able to fix some now, and some other later. Creating 1 issue for them all will not help. If you keep the title convention, it won’t be a problem (“Homepage - contact form - submit button”, “Homepage - contact form - validation” etc.)

5. Screen Shots - There is nothing that helps more then a screen shot of the problem. You can try and describe the problem, but a picture will simply show it. I’m using http://www.bayden.com/mezer/, it’s a great freeware for capture screen shots, and you can also add red arrows that points the problem. Boto supports image attachments, and it has a great instant zoom feature that allows everyone to understant in a second what is the issue all about. On Boto you can upload as many attachments as you like, on a single upload. Simply click “attach files” and choose your files. On supported browsers (Chrome for example) you can also drag & drop files to an issue. 

Boto - Streamlined issue tracking

6. If you create many issues one after another, use the “Open and create another” button. It will save you 2 clicks (opening the form and focusing on the title field).

7. Did you knew that Boto has keyboard shortcuts? Ctrl+Enter to open a new issue, Shift + Enter to open and create another. 

8. Use the Priority control. Although ‘Medium’ is the default - change to low, high or Critical as needed. Set issues you don’t really need to be solved at the moment as ‘Low’. Most important issues you wish to be resolved first set to ‘Critical’. Maintain and change priorities as you go. 

Do you have any more hot tips? Share you experience with us and comment this post!

Good luck!