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Best Practices for Creating an Issue Ticket

“Reminds me of the awesome bug report I saw once:

Everything is broken. Steps to reproduce: do anything. Expected result: it should work– Felipe Knorr Kuhn.

This funny quote summarizes what we should avoid while creating issue tickets/bug reports. Software testing and issues are integral parts of software development. Similarly, quick bug resolutions are paramount to DevOps and Agile development cycles, where continuous feedback and improvement are the keys. Detailed bug/defect reports help developers understand and resolve the defect quickly without misunderstanding the issue.

This article will discuss the best practices for creating an awesome issue ticket, which completely differs from what we saw in the above quote.

Structure of an issue ticket

A bug report/ defect report/ issue ticket is a documented record of a flaw, error, or issue discovered in software application testing. It is a formal way of communicating and tracking the deviation from the expected behavior, functionality, or application requirements.

Here are the standard fields/information that you will see in an issue ticket:

  • Title/Summary: A concise description of the issue, providing a quick overview of the problem.

  • Description: A detailed account of the issue, including specific observations and the impact on the software.

  • Steps to Reproduce: Clear and step-by-step instructions to replicate the issue. It ensures that developers can see the problem firsthand.

  • Expected vs. Actual Results: A comparison of what was expected to happen versus what actually occurred. This highlights the nature of the defect.

  • Environment Details: Information about the testing environment where the issue was observed: operating system, device, browser version, and network conditions.

  • Severity/Priority: An assessment of the issue’s urgency and impact on the application, guiding the prioritization of the bug fix. This excellent article helps you understand the severity, priority, and their combinations.

  • Screenshots/Video: Visual evidence of the issue in the form of screenshots or execution videos. They provide clear context and help developers quickly identify and resolve the problem. Intelligent tools like testRigor save screenshots, videos of test execution, error texts, and logs for helpful test result analysis.

  • Logs/Error Messages: Relevant logs or error messages can offer additional insights into what might be causing the issue.

  • Issue Type: Classify the issue (e.g., bug, enhancement request, feature suggestion, change request) to help with proper categorization and handling.

  • Software Version: Mentions the issue is encountered on which version of the software.

  • Test Data: Sharing the relevant test data helps the developer quickly find the root cause of the issue.

  • Status: The current status of the issue (e.g., New, In Progress, Blocked, Retest, Resolved) to track its progress through resolution.

  • Additional Details: This includes linked defects, associated user story/requirement, who raised the issue (tester’s name), the associated developer, the due date to fix the defect, etc.

Reasons to have a good issue ticket

Issue tickets are managed through issue-tracking systems/bug-tracking software, such as Jira, Redmine, Bugzilla, or Trello, which allow teams to assign, prioritize, and update the status of each ticket.

  • Prioritization and planning of defects: Issue tickets provide detailed information about the defect, including its priority and severity. Using this information, the impact and urgency of fixing the issue are evaluated, which helps in planning and prioritizing the fix. When you encounter a critical bug, make a loud noise to be heard, i.e., communicate ferociously. Resources and time are prioritized accordingly, and the issue ticket is vital information in this case.

    Learn about masked defects, their impact, and how to identify them.

  • Better communication: The issue is documented in detail to communicate the nature of the issue, its severity, and the conditions under which it occurs. This information is shared with developers, project managers, and other stakeholders. This helps improve collaboration among cross-functional teams by serving as a central point of reference for the issue. It also makes sure that everyone is aligned on the problem, its status, and the resolution efforts.

    Usually, the issue-tracking software/systems are used to act as the central point of reference for everyone to stay on the same page.

  • Improved quality assurance: The systematic approach to detect, define, and track the issues helps fix them appropriately and enhances the software’s quality. The issue-tracking systems integrate with version control and continuous integration tools seamlessly. This helps prevent regressions by ensuring that previously fixed bugs do not reappear in future releases.

  • Accountability of defect: The bug reporting tools have a field “Assigned To”, which ensures the accountability of the issue at that moment. This ownership extrudes transparency, as everyone knows the defect’s current owner. Ownership may vary, such as a programmer if the defect needs to be fixed, a tester if the defect is to be retested, and a business analyst if clarification on the requirement is needed. Read here the strategies to handle defects in Agile development methodology.

  • Artifact for improvement and analysis: A good bug report helps in root cause analysis (RCA), identifying underlying issues in the development process or codebase that may be contributing to defects. You can analyze the trends and patterns in bug reports over time. It can provide insights into common vulnerabilities, process inefficiencies, or areas needing more focused testing, guiding continuous improvement efforts.

All the above points contribute to excellent user satisfaction and trust, providing a competitive advantage over time.

Best practices for creating an issue ticket

Now we know the structure and benefits of having a good issue ticket. Let us move our attention to the best practices that can help to create a helpful issue ticket for everyone:

Write a clear title

The issue title should summarize the issue, making it easy for team members to understand the problem at a glance.

Bad example: Submit not working

Good example: Login page: ‘Submit’ button unresponsive on Android mobile devices

Add detailed description

Provide issue details so that it is easy for anyone to reproduce the issue and understand the root cause. The below information is vital:

  • Steps to Reproduce: Clearly outline the steps needed to reproduce the issue, including any specific conditions or configurations.
  • Expected vs. Actual Results: Describe what you expected to happen and what actually occurred. This contrast helps in understanding the deviation from expected behavior.
  • Environment Details: Include information about the testing environment, such as the device, operating system, browser version, and any relevant settings or configurations.
  • Screenshots/Video: Attach visuals whenever possible. Screenshots, screen recordings, or GIFs can provide clear evidence of the issue and help developers identify the problem more quickly.
Example of issue description
Summary: Attempting to submit the login form by clicking the 'Submit' button fails, and no action is taken
Expected Behavior: The 'Submit' button should submit the form and navigate the user to the 'Accounts' dashboard on the click
Actual Behavior: On the click, the 'Submit' button does not respond
Steps to Reproduce:
  1. Navigate to the login page (provide URL).
  2. Enter valid login credentials.
  3. Click the 'Submit' button.
Environment: Tested on Chrome 90 on Windows 10 and Safari 14 on macOS Big Sur.
Attachments: Attach a screenshot or video of the login page with the 'Submit' button highlighted. Show an error message or a lack of any response after the click.

Add correct priority and severity

Assign a priority and severity level based on the issue’s impact on the application’s functionality, user experience, or security. This helps the team understand how urgently the bug needs to be addressed. Misidentifying these levels may delay fixing a critical/urgent issue. Contact the business analyst and SMEs if you need help evaluating these levels.

Example:
  • Type: Bug
  • Priority: High
  • Severity: Major

Know how to reduce the risk and impact of late bug detection.

Use appropriate category

Use labels or tags to categorize the ticket (e.g., UI, backend, security, API). This facilitates sorting and prioritizing issues and can help assign them to the right team or individual.

Use consistent format

If your team or project still needs to get a template, consider creating one to ensure consistency across all issue tickets. This standardization helps in maintaining clarity and efficiency in issue tracking and resolution. All popular issue management tools allow customization and maintain the standards to be followed by everyone on the team.

Assign issue diligently

If possible, assign the ticket to the appropriate developer, QA engineer, or team based on the issue’s nature and the project’s workflow. If unsure, leave it unassigned or assign it to a project manager for defect triage.

Create mandatory checks

The issue-tracking tools allow you to create mandatory checks and rules on issue submission easily. These rules will not allow issue submission without the required data in the fields.

Provide additional information

Always provide relevant additional information about the issue to help the associated teams understand the issue better and quickly. The additional information can be:

  • Reference Related Issues: If the issue is related to or dependent on other tickets, mention or link those tickets for context.
  • Include Log Files or Error Messages: If applicable, attach relevant logs or error messages that could help diagnose the problem. Learn more about test logs and related best practices.
  • User Stories or Requirements: Link back to any relevant user stories, requirements, or specifications to provide context on how the feature should work.

Follow up and update

Stay engaged with the ticket after submission and follow the updates. Be ready to provide additional information or clarification if needed. Once the issue is addressed, verify the fix and update the ticket status accordingly. To learn how to write test reports, read this article.

Conclusion

These issue-creation best practices make sure that each issue ticket is informative, actionable, and conducive to an issue resolution process. This approach aids in quicker issue resolution, team collaboration, and better project documentation and understanding.

Following these best practices can reduce the to-and-fro communication time between teams and will result in a quicker issue resolution. This fast turn-around time is paramount for an excellent product quality and development process.

Intelligent and generative AI-powered tool testRigor allows integration with all significant issue management tools such as Jira and more. These powerful integrations will enable you to reap the benefits of codeless test automation in plain English and excellent issue management in tandem.

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