Think of a bug…any bug. Call it BugA. Now try to think of other bugs that could be caused by BugA. Those other bugs are what I call “Follow-On Bugs”. Now forget about those other bugs. Instead, go find BugB.

I first heard Michael Hunter (AKA “Micahel”, “The Braidy Tester”) use the similar term, “Follow-on Failures”, in a blog post. Ever since, I’ve used the term “Follow-On Bugs”, though I never hear other testers discuss these. If I’m missing a better term for these, let me know. “Down-stream bugs” is not a bad term either.

Whatever we call these, I firmly believe a key to knowing which tests to execute in the current build, is to be aware of follow-on bugs. Don’t log them. The more knowledgeable you become about your AUT, the better you will identify follow-on bugs. If you’re not sure, ask your devs.
Good testers have more tests than time to execute them. Follow-on bugs may waste time. I share more detail about this in my testing new features faster post.

I’ve seen testers get into a zone where they keep logging follow-on bugs into the bug tracking system. This is fine if there are no other important tests left. However, I’ll bet there are. Bugs that will indirectly get fixed by other bugs mostly just create administrative work, which subtracts from our available time to code and test.


  1. Alex said...

    Not exactly the same issue, but Michael Bolton has just posted an article on his blog that I believe is strongly related to your point. It's about how you know when to stop testing.

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