Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to get your all bugs resolved without any ‘Invalid bug’ label?

I hate “Invalid bug” label from developers for the bugs reported by me, do you? I think every tester should try to get his/her 100% bugs resolved. This requires bug reporting skill. See my previous post on “How to write a good bug report? Tips and Tricks” to report bugs professionally and without any ambiguity.

The main reason for bug being marked as invalid is “Insufficient troubleshooting” by tester before reporting the bug. In this post I will focus only on troubleshooting to find main cause of the bug. Troubleshooting will help you to decide whether the ambiguity you found in your application under test is really a bug or any test setup mistake.

Yes, 50% bugs get marked as “Invalid bugs” only due to testers incomplete testing setup. Let’s say you found an ambiguity in application under test. You are now preparing the steps to report this ambiguity as a bug. But wait! Have you done enough troubleshooting before reporting this bug? Or have you confirmed if it is really a bug?

What troubleshooting you need to perform before reporting any bug?

Troubleshooting of:

  • What’s not working?
  • Why it’s not working?
  • How can you make it work?
  • What are the possible reasons for the failure?

Answer for the first question “what’s not working?” is sufficient for you to report the bug steps in bug tracking system. Then why to answer remaining three questions? Think beyond your responsibilities. Act smarter, don’t be a dumb person who only follow his routine steps and don’t even think outside of that. You should be able to suggest all possible solutions to resolve the bug and efficiency as well as drawbacks of each solution. This will increase your respect in your team and will also reduce the possibility of getting your bugs rejected, not due to this respect but due to your troubleshooting skill.

Before reporting any bug, make sure it isn’t your mistake while testing, you have missed any important flag to set or you might have not configured your test setup properly.

Troubleshoot the reasons for the failure in application. On proper troubleshooting report the bug. I have complied a troubleshooting list. Check it out - what can be different reasons for failure.

Reasons of failure:
1) If you are using any configuration file for testing your application then make sure this file is upto date as per the application requirements: Many times some global configuration file is used to pick or set some application flags. Failure to maintain this file as per your software requirements will lead to malfunctioning of your application under test. You can’t report it as bug.

2) Check if your database is proper: Missing table is main reason that your application will not work properly.
I have a classic example for this: One of my projects was querying many monthly user database tables for showing the user reports. First table existence was checked in master table (This table was maintaining only monthly table names) and then data was queried from different individual monthly tables. Many testers were selecting big date range to see the user reports. But many times it was crashing the application as those tables were not present in database of test machine server, giving SQL query error and they were reporting it as bug which subsequently was getting marked as invalid by developers.

3) If you are working on automation testing project then debug your script twice before coming to conclusion that the application failure is a bug.

4) Check if you are not using invalid access credentials for authentication.

5) Check if software versions are compatible.

6) Check if there is any other hardware issue that is not related to your application.

7) Make sure your application hardware and software prerequisites are correct.

8 ) Check if all software components are installed properly on your test machine. Check whether registry entries are valid.

9) For any failure look into ‘system event viewer’ for details. You can trace out many failure reasons from system event log file.

10) Before starting to test make sure you have uploaded all latest version files to your test environment.

These are all small and common mistakes but can mostly impact on your relations and credibility in your team. When you will find that your bug is marked as invalid and the invalid bug reason is from above mentioned list – it will be a silly mistake and it will definitely hurt you. (At least to me!)

Share mistakes done by you while reporting any bug. This will help other readers to learn from your experience!

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