Bug Reporting and Tracking Visualization

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Learning how to cope with bugs is a must if you want to create and maintain functional software. Dealing with bugs is a lot easier when you visualize them. From bug reporting to tracking bugs’ lifecycles using different visualization techniques, we have the scoop on staying on top of bugs and preventing them from affecting your team and projects.

What is bug reporting?

Bug reporting is about documenting the bug. A bug report contains all the necessary details on the bug. Bug reporting helps developers understand the bug, fix it, and oversee its lifecycle. Documenting bugs and creating bug reports helps teams streamline processes and visualize the issues.

Key Components of a Bug Report

Key components of a bug report are bug ID number, title, description, details on the person who reported it, time and date, release version, reproduction steps, priority and severity details, and links to the conversation with the end user and update bug’s activity log.

  • First, start creating a detailed bug report by adding an ID number. Bug IDs help distinguish between bugs that might be similar but also different in some aspects. It’s also easier to find the bug when you look for its ID number and document it on the board using a number without the full bug title.
  • A bug report also needs to have a title that describes the bug and gives necessary information to the person reading it. The title describes the bug without going into specifics or details.
  • In the description, you can provide more details on the bug and describe how it occurs. This is a critical part of the bug report and should be written clearly and concisely.
  • Don’t forget to put down on a bug report who reported it, as it will give the reader the info on who is the first point of contact for more details or updates.
  • The date and time when the bug occurred should also be included in the bug report, as this provides very important information. Perhaps the bug occurred before the release of a specific version or before it was fixed with the next release.
  • In a bug report, it’s essential to include which version the bug occurred on and which platform the software was used on, as this information might be helpful when working on the bug.
  • The key part of the bug report is the steps of reproduction. Make sure to give a comprehensive list of the steps that should be taken to recreate the bug. Being able to reproduce the bug is the key to finding a solution. Some bugs cannot be reproduced on all devices and by all users. Bugs can be specific and related to certain conditions testers and developers cannot reproduce. However, noting the reproduction steps will help with finding a fix and could also help with future bugs. Just because not everyone can reproduce the bug, it doesn’t mean the bug is not there. When creating a bug report, add screenshots and attachments that visually show more details about the bug.
  • Adding details on the priority and severity of the bug allows developers to know how urgent it is to fix this particular problem. Not all issues are top priorities, but awareness of their prioritization status is essential. It’s also necessary to include technical context that will allow developers to have more details on the bug.
  • Bug reporters should include details on the conversation about when the bug was reported and whether a user, tester, or someone else reported it. That way, you will know whom you should contact once the bug is fixed or inform them about its status.
  • It’s also important to keep an activity log and show who accessed the bug report or worked on it last. This provides crucial information on the bug's status and lets everyone involved know how the work on the bug is progressing. Keeping a bug report will help when bugs reappear, or similar bugs appear again in the future, giving the team guidance.

A detailed bug report will help the team deal with issues in the future, especially if the team changes. This will allow future team members to rely on documentation for support.

What is Bug Tracking?

Bug tracking is managing the bug from start to finish. From the moment the bug appears, bug tracking allows the team to follow its lifecycle through all the stages. Even when the bug is fixed, it doesn’t mean it won’t reappear someday. Tracking a bug is a lot easier with bug visualization, letting you know the current status of the bug.

The Lifecycle of a Bug

  1. Once the bug appears, the first stage it goes through is being a new bug.
  2. The next stage is when the bug is assigned to a team or developer to be fixed.
  3. Once the developer starts working on fixing the bug, the bug changes its status to open.
  4. When the developer makes all the changes to the code that will fix the bug, it is labeled as fixed.
  5. The next stage in a bug's lifecycle is for the testers to test it further. If the bug is fixed, it reaches the verified stage before finally being closed. If it is not fixed, it is returned to one of the previous steps in the process and goes through the other stages again.

An open bug can also duplicate an existing bug, in which case it is closed. The team might also decide that the bug reported is not a bug and reject the report.

A closed bug might also reappear, requiring it to be reopened and go through its lifecycle again.

Benefits of Visualization in Bug Management

Visualizing bugs helps manage bugs and stay on top of issues that appear. Using visual cues helps teams quickly understand where the bug is and communicate the importance of issues across teams and team members.

Visualizing your work allows a better flow of information. Teams that visualize bugs will improve their workload management and workflow. In addition, it will help teams produce better-quality products and improve customer satisfaction.

How Does Visualization Aid in Understanding the Bug?

Visualizing a bug helps you understand its current status and helps the team take the right steps to treat it. Once the team visualizes the bug and learns how to track its lifecycle on a board, it becomes much easier to distribute workload and assignments and work towards finding a solution.

Bug visualization allows project managers to keep the team in the loop easily.

Using Visualization to Prioritize Bugs

Visual aids help teams prioritize bugs and learn to label them so that they are aware of their urgency status. Some bugs need to be fixed ASAP, while others can wait.

Wasting resources on fixing non-urgent bugs prevents the team from dedicating their attention to more important work.

Using labels and other conspicuous visual cues to show an issue's priority will help the team focus its full attention on fixing it immediately.

How to Use Kanban Boards for Bug Management?

Kanban is great for visualizing workload as it gives the teams a complete understanding of the production process. Placing a bug on a Kanban board will show the team how the bug progresses and let them easily follow its lifecycle.

You can place a bug on a Kanban board, ensuring it is easy to spot and differentiate from other tasks. The bug must be visually striking so the team can easily spot it, especially when it’s a high-priority problem.

Place the bug on a Kanban board, use a special color for the bug card, or add a magnet to represent its status and type.

How Gantt Charts Can be Used in Bug Tracking?

Gantt charts can be useful for bug tracking, allowing teams to visualize the bug on a timeline. An advantage of using Gantt charts for visualizing bug tracking is that they can show how the bug relates to other tasks and when it occurs.

Visualizing a bug with the help of a Gantt chart lets the team place the bug in time, knowing exactly when it happened and how long it lasted, which important events or milestones are coming up, and coordinate their work accordingly.

Timeline View for Bug Tracking

Bug tracking is easy with a timeline view because it gives the team a time perspective, placing the bug on a timeline together with other issues, tasks, and bugs.

You can also create a timeline showing only bugs and be able to pinpoint exactly when an issue was occurring.

Creating a bug-tracking timeline shows the team an overview of past issues and facilitates finding the right information about an issue that happened in the past or other relevant information.

ActiveCollab for Bug Management

ActiveCollab is project management software with all the features teams need to follow their workflow and manage their projects. Tracking bugs is easy using three views in ActiveCollab: column view, timeline view, and list view.

Teams can also track time on tasks, use various reports, and manage their Workload to handle projects, bugs, and issues.

Bug Reporting in ActiveCollab

ActiveCollab has all the features you need to track project progress and create bug reports that contain all the necessary information.

Start by creating a task and labeling it a bug. The task name is the bug name, which briefly describes the issue.

ActiveCollab users can also enable the use of task ID numbers, giving the task and the bug a unique ID number by which they can search for it in the project. The description field in the task gives you the option to add custom fields, such as more information on the bug and describing its severity environment steps to reproduction or details on the conversation when the bug was first noticed.

You can also add screenshots, logs, and documents in the attachments, providing more context on the bug. Team members can provide additional information or updates by editing the task or writing comments. Labels are a great way to label the task as a bug but also add which stage the bug is currently at, whether it is open, closed, or in progress.

You can always add customized labels in different colors to easily spot urgent bugs when viewing the project in list or column view.

Bug Tracking in ActiveCollab

ActiveCollab makes bug tracking easy, as you can add all the crucial info in the bug report when making it. You can assign a bug to a specific assignee and set the task status using a label to inform the team about the bug’s lifecycle.

You can also set due dates for the bug report, specifying the time period during which the team is working on a bug. ActiveCollab sends notifications to users who are subscribers to a task to let them know about the changes happening on that task.

Do you need to know exactly which changes were made in the task by which person? In ActiveCollab, each task has a history of changes that you can check out and see when the task was opened, closed, edited, and by whom. This is all important information, especially when the team is searching for a bug fix.

Tracking multiple issues and teams as they work towards finding a solution is facilitated by having an activity stream that you can check and see what the teams are working on. ActiveCollab helps track all the activities across teams and projects and helps teams stay on the same page.

Tracking time makes it easier for teams to know where their time went when working on a task. ActiveCollab has a built-in Stopwatch that you can use to track time, upload it once you’ve finished working on a task, or pause it and continue tracking time later. In ActiveCollab, you can switch between multiple stopwatches as you track time for different tasks.

Use Kanban boards to visualize bugs in ActiveCollab using the column view. When watching from a column view, you can create different task lists represented as columns and track the bug through different stages.

Name the task lists after each stage of the project or the bug. Depending on your needs, they can be as simple as To Do, In Progress, and Done or more complex.

You can also create a bug project containing only bugs, have bug tasks in different projects representing different aspects of your work or software, or contain only tasks of certain teams.

ActiveCollab also has a timeline view, allowing you to see tasks in a timeline view and connect them to other tasks with dependencies. That way, if a fix needs to come before a new release, you can easily connect these two tasks with a dependency, making the task that needs to happen first a parent task before the next task can happen, which will be a child task.

Timeline view allows ActiveCollab users to view tasks and issues on a Gantt chart and easily change their duration, start, or due date with just a few clicks. It also gives the best overview of the project by placing it on a timeline.