Logging a politically difficult bug

On some projects, the word defect is another word for politics. If you've never been on one of those projects, you're lucky. But they exist. If you find yourself on one of those teams, or even if you're not on a politically charged team but still have to log a difficult issue, you might consider the following tips:

  • Restrict your claims about the defect to those that can be supported by the data you have. Don't do too much editorializing in the ticket. Just list out what you know, what you don't know, and let the team figure out what to do from there.

  • Be sure that before you log the ticket you spend some time searching for data that refutes the idea that the issues is in fact a defect. Try to prove yourself wrong. Really do some digging.

  • Make sure that all the data you list is relevant to the issue you've logged. Don't make it easy for someone to ignore your issue because it's either not clear why some data is there or because it includes a subset of information that can be trivialized. People will choose to fight the weakest set of data you include, so make sure it's all strong and speaks for itself.

  • Make sure you have enough data for the issue you've logged. For example, if you're reporting a performance issue, don't include just one test run. That's not enough. You'll need to establish a pattern of behavior for issues like that.

Bug ReportsMichael Kelly