(Edit on 10/1/2014) Although too long, a better title would have been “You May Not Want To Tell Anyone About That Trivial Bug”. Thanks, dear readers, for your comments.
It’s a bug, no doubt. Yes, you are a super tester for finding it. Pat yourself on the back.
Now come down off that pedestal and think about this. By any stretch of the imagination, could that bug ever threaten the value of the product-under-test? Could it threaten the value of your testing? No? Then swallow your pride and keep it to yourself.
My thinking used to be: “I’ll just log it as low priority so we at least know it exists”. As a manager, when testers came to me with trivial bugs, I used to give the easy answer, “Sure, they probably won’t fix it but log it anyway”.
Now I see things differently. If a trivial bug gets logged, often…
- a programmer sees the bug report and fixes it
- a programmer sees the bug report and wonders why the tester is not testing more important things
- a team member stumbles upon the bug report and has to spend 4 minutes reading it and understanding it before assigning some other attribute to it (like “deferred” or “rejected”)
- a team member argues that it’s not worth fixing
- a tester has spent 15 minutes documenting a trivial bug.
It seems to me, reporting trivial bugs tends to waste everybody’s time. Time that may be better spent adding value to your product. If you don’t buy that argument, how about this one: Tester credibility is built on finding good bugs, not trivial ones.
About five years ago, my tester friend, Alex Kell, blew my mind by cockily declaring, “Why would you ever log a bug? Just send the Story back.”
My dev team uses a Kanban board that includes “In Testing” and “In Development” columns. Sometimes bug reports are created against Stories. But other times Stories are just sent left; For example, a Story “In Testing” may have its status changed to “In Development”, like Alex Kell’s maneuver above. This normally is done using the Dead Horse When-To-Stop-A-Test Heuristic. We could also send an “In Development” story left if we decide the business rules need to be firmed up before coding can continue.
So how does one know when to log a bug report vs. send it left?
I proposed the following heuristic to my team today:
If the Acceptance Test Criteria (listed on the Story card) is violated, send it left. It seems to me, logging a bug report for something already stated in the Story (e.g., Feature, Work Item, Spec) is mostly a waste of time.