How To Craft An Effective Bug Report

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Whether it’s for HIPAA compliance or preventing any operational issues, crafting a bug report is a critical but thankless job. Bug reports allow support teams to find the problems in everything, from software to medical hardware.

If you’re looking to write one yourself, you want to communicate your ideas. You want to make sure you follow the best practices. Here’s how to craft an effective bug report that can help you solve problems quicker and more efficiently.

What Is A Bug Report

So, what’s a bug report, anyway? A bug report is a formal document that allows a support team to identify a problem. It can be on any platform, from programming to medical hardware to a healthcare mobile app.

Bugs can mean different things, depending on where you find them. Sometimes, a bug can be an error in the code. Other times, it can be a problem with a website or service, especially if it involves a bug during the operational process.

Bug reports allow people in different teams across an organization to communicate quickly about software errors. Think of it as an internal email sharing information about a mistake or an issue. When submitting a bug, you inform your team that a problem exists and how to fix it.

Bug reports help teams understand how your product works and which pieces need improvement. They’re also used to alert support team members, developers, or executives to issues. 

Bug Reporting Best Practices

Bug reports need to be written clearly and concisely, with descriptions and examples. No matter what issue you’re reporting, you want to provide your team with as much context as possible, including information about what you were doing when the error occurred. 

Writing a good bug report includes making sure you have all relevant information, such as screenshots, error messages, and log files. This helps other readers understand what you’re experiencing. Here are some best practices you’d need to follow.

  1. Write A Good Summary

Make sure you’re concise and to the point. A summary should be no more than 50 words. It should include a description of the issue you’re reporting, including what you did when the error occurred. 

  1. Be Concise

When you’re writing an email, you tend to write long emails. Now, this isn’t a problem if you’re the CEO of a large company. But when you’re writing an email about a bug, you need to be concise. 

Bug reports should be as short as possible. Don’t write paragraphs. Write concise sentences. Break up important information with bullet points. 

  1. Include Screenshots 

Screenshots are valuable for bug reports. They provide context and help communicate that an error has occurred. Screenshots also help users understand what they’re seeing, highlighting specific elements. 

For example, if you’re submitting a bug report about healthcare software, you should include a screenshot. For hardware issues that lock you out of the system, use your phone’s camera to take a snapshot of the problem as it happens.

  1. Provide Background Information

When you’re writing a report, it’s important to include background information, too. This helps readers understand what you’re experiencing. For example, if you’re writing a bug report about a software issue, you should include information about the software you’re using. 

If you’re submitting a bug report as part of a HIPAA complaint, be sure to include information about the service. Provide pertinent information, including the hardware specs, browser information, serial number, and more.

  1. Provide Steps To Reproduce The Bug

When you’re submitting a bug report, you want your team to understand how to reproduce the same issue. You can include this information in your bug report, along with screenshots and any error messages or log files. 

For example, if you’re submitting a report about an error that appears after an update, include the steps you followed before the error occurred. Include the steps you took after the update, too. Include the color of the screen, the time of the error, and more. 

  1. Read The Error Messages

Before writing your bug report, it’s essential to read the error message. Doing so will help you figure out which steps led to the issue and how to fix it. 

For example, you may find an error in a log. Instead of submitting a bug report, you could fire off an error message to the development team, telling them that the record says “Error: Data error” or “Error: Exception detected.” 

For example, if you’re using a healthcare mobile app, include information like the date and time, the exact steps you took, and any information from other apps, such as your login information.

  1. Use Simple, Non-Hostile Language

When submitting a bug, write the report in the most straightforward language possible. If there’s a character or a word that you don’t know, look it up beforehand. Remember that not everyone has the same technical knowledge.

Don’t use jargon, buzzwords, or industry terms that are difficult to understand. Instead, write in plain language. Think about the people who are reading the report. 

When reporting a bug, you’re not trying to anger your team. You’re trying to help them fix issues. That’s why it’s important to avoid using hostile language. Instead, use simple, friendly, and neutral language.

  1. Never Assume A Problem

When writing a bug report, you don’t want to assume that your support team made a mistake. If you’re writing a report about an error, make sure you include as much information as possible. 

If you submit a bug report about an error, make sure you’re clear about what you were doing at the time of the error. Include a screenshot or screenshot of what you were doing, along with any error messages. 

When you report an error, make sure the problem doesn’t happen again. You should include steps your team can take to prevent this from happening again. 

Final Thoughts

Writing a bug report takes time and effort, but it’s vital work for organizations, especially healthcare institutions, who rely on technology, including electronic health records. 

When you submit a bug report, make sure you’re clear, concise, and helpful. Include as much information as possible, including screenshots, error messages, and log files. Following these best practices can help you craft a bug report that is easy to read and that your team can understand.

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