What is a Bug Log, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Bug Log
A Bug Log, also called a Bug Tracking System, is a typically a software application that keeps track of bugs and other issues in software development projects.
Description of Bug Log
Bug Logs are a type of issue tracking system and are usually integrated with other project management software within a company. Many bug tracking systems allow end-users to report bugs directly to the system. Others are used within companies whose main work is software development. Consistent use of a bug tracking system within a company is considered a hallmark of a reliable software development team.
The main component of a Bug Log system is a database that records facts about known bugs, such as time reported, level of severity, bug behavior and details on how to reproduce the bug. Additionally, the system will ask for the identity of the person reporting the bug and the names of any programmers that are working to correct the issue.
The main benefit of a Bug Log system is to provide a clear overview of the current state of the Bug, including the backlog of pending items. Management also finds the analysis of Bug Logs useful in determining the productivity of their programmers. By reviewing how quickly bugs are being resolved management can get a sense of how proficient their programmers are.
The stages a Bug goes through are tracked with Bug Logs and usually include the following:
- Investigation – investigate a reported bug
- Testing – bug is fixed and ready to be tested
- Verified – Retested under various circumstances and can still be considered “fixed”
- Closed – Removed from Bug List if not considered defective
- Reopened – Not fixed and investigation back underway
There are also various levels of severity, which should also be noted in the Bug Log so that priority can be given to the most severe issues. The levels are:
- Catastrophic – total failure or unrecoverable data loss.
- Impaired functionality – an unsatisfactory workaround exists
- Failure of non-critical systems – a satisfactory workaround exists
- Very Minor – the issue can be ignored and does not impact a product release
Severity levels can be monitored in the Bug Log and creates a way for management to evaluate the impact on a business or over production and timelines.
Tools & Templates
The tools software development teams use for managing Bug Logs include specific software applications for bug tracking and spreadsheets.