Bug Advocacy

Bug Advocacy: Effective Bug Investigation and Reporting


Bug reports are not just neutral technical reports. They are persuasive documents. The key goal of the bug report author is to provide high-quality information, well written, to help stakeholders make wise decisions about which bugs to fix. Key aspects of the content of this course include:

  • Defining key concepts (such as software error, quality, and the bug processing workflow)

  • The scope of bug reporting (what to report as bugs, and what information to include)

  • Bug reporting as persuasive writing

  • Bug investigation to discover harsher failures and simpler replication conditions

  • Excuses and reasons for not fixing bugs

  • Making bugs reproducible

  • Lessons from the psychology of decision-making: bug-handling as a multiple-decision process dominated by heuristics - and biases

  • Style and structure of well-written bug reports

  • More info on the Learning Objectives for Bug Advocacy: Effective Bug Investigation and Reporting are available on the BBST.info website.



Lecture 1: Basic Concepts Explore the diversity of opinions about "quality" and "bugs."

The lecture presents the multi-dimensional view of quality used throughout the BBST courses.

  • Lecture 1 (35 mins)

Lecture 2: Effective Advocacy: Making People Want to Fix the Bug

How to develop reports that clearly communicate bugs in their harshest honest light so that decision-makers can operate with insight into the consequences of each bug.

  • Lecture 2 (27 mins)

Lecture 3: Anticipating and Dealing with Objections: Irreproducible Bugs

Strategies for exploring non-reproducible bugs to make them reproducible or at least to provide information to help troubleshooting efforts.

  • Lecture 3 (17 mins)

Lecture 4: Anticipating and Dealing with Objections: The Content, Clarity, and Credibility of the Report

How testers can make their reports useful and more credible for better decision-making by others working in the development effort.

  • Lecture 4 (12 mins)

Lecture 5: Credibility and Influence

In addition to the quality of bug reports, a tester's actions can influence how much credibility and influence they have on a project. This lecture draws on research on bias and signal detection theory to explore some of the things that enhance or diminish a tester's credibility.

  • Lecture 5 (21 mins)

Lecture 6: Writing Clear Bug Reports

The final lecture introduces the RIMGEN acronym to guide testers in writing better bug reports.

  • Lecture 6 (29 mins)


Study Guide

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