What does a GREAT bug report look like?

In the software world bugs happen, so a bug report needs to be filed.

What does a bug report look like, and what does it need to include for it to be effective?

Let’s explore the structure of a great Bug report, whether it’s filed on Jira as ticket/issue or other system

A well-constructed bug report is like a police case file. It provides developers with the clues they need to solve the mysteries that caused a bug during testing.


Each report should be created of several key elements, to provide a clear and comprehensive picture of what the issue is.

:point_right: Title: A concise, clear, and straightforward description of the issue. It doesn’t need to be a full sentence; the goal is to convey the problem at a glance. Keep it short and focused.

:point_right: Description: This is where you can go deep. An effective section typically covers three distinct elements:

  • the defect (what)
  • the condition (when)
  • the location (where)

Great engineering teams value the clarity these components bring to the summary. If there are specifics, it’s important to include them here, so to create awareness when a user reads the full report.

:point_right: Steps to Reproduce: Super important section, which describes all the steps taken that lead to a bug. Ideally, the journey begins at the of a user session. The more details added to the reproduction steps the more valuable this becomes to the engineering team in charge of fixing the bug. When you add all the steps and reach the bug-step, it’s important to add as many details as possible about the situation. I.e. are you running anything in parallel, did you do anything out of the ordinary. A good ticket will include supporting documentation such as a video/screenshot and logs (which is why there are tools such as Dashcam.io that automate this part for you)

:point_right: Result: This section highlights the problem identified. It also lets people add more explanations of the issue, especially if it relates to the final step in the Steps to Reproduce.

:point_right: Expected Result: Talk about expectations. What did you or any other average user expect the situation to feel and look like. Explain what went wrong instead, and highlight the desired outcome. This helps engineering teams understand (and discuss internally with PMs/EMs) what went wrong and what should instead happen.

:point_right: Severity and Priority: The severity and criticality of a bug. Is this a show-stopping issue? How does it affect the user experience? Priority is determined by the production team, considering the bug’s effect on the development timeline and resource allocation. It dictates how quickly the bug needs to be resolved and how much weight it has on the expected functioning of one’s product.

:point_right: Attachments: Attachments, including screenshots, videos, log files, or other relevant files, provide visual evidence of the issue. Annotations or highlights on such documentation can help highlight problems and show users the issue at hand. Videos are even more useful when tied to timestamps and error logs!

In conclusion

A great ticket isn’t just written in good english. It’s a document that lays out the important findings of one’s journey fixing bugs. A written piece that improves communication between testers and developers and makes teams snappier and efficient…plus a great way to see how far you’ve come :slight_smile: