Rules for Bug Lists

I identified a problem with a project today where there seemed to be an ongoing misalignment between what the developers thought was left to be fixed before shipping and what the project sponsors thought needed to be done. This problem has been going on so to stop it happening in the future – here are my rules for maintaining lists of bugs.

  • Bugs should be recorded as they are discovered with as much information as possible entered into the bug details.
  • There should be only one list of bugs per project although it may be sliced and diced in different ways for reporeting purposes.
  • The list of bugs should be stored in a central location, for example an Excel file on a network share, or if you have access to such a tool, something like Team Foundation Server/Work Item Tracking.
  • Each bug should be issue a unique identifier and new bugs should check against the list of known bugs to ensure that a duplicate bug entry is not being made.

3 thoughts on “Rules for Bug Lists

  1. Kevin Daly

    I would suggest a couple more:

    Each bug record should describe a single known problem, not an aggregation of everything found that day.
    Tp the extent that this can be readily determined, any bug should be recorded only once. Do not enter it multiple times “as a reminder” or to emphasise how important you think it is.

  2. MattyT

    Sounds good to me – with the exception that developers should avoid using an “Excel file on a network share” to track defects. Many reasons why but the most significant is that only one person can have it open for writing at once. Use Mantis, GForge, Bugzilla, Trac or one of the many other free/open source systems if you don’t have budget to buy TFS, Fogbugz, ClearQuest etc.

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi Kevin,

    I quite liked the bug recording mechanism on LadyBug during the VS2005 beta cycles – it forced you to search for the bug first before you could log it.

    MattyT, I agree that an Excel file on a network share is not always appropriate, but it does work, although not as well as TFS or the other options out there.

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