Properly Dealing with Software Bugs

Steven Bui
5 min readApr 22, 2022
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Software bugs are handled by all levels of an engineering department in some shape or form. The goal of dealing with software bugs is not reaching zero bugs as that’s not realistic and causes unneeded stress on the engineering team. A robust process is the best way of dealing with software bugs to keep software bugs manageable without significantly affecting the software development.

What is a software bug?

A software bug is behavior in the software that’s different from the intended behavior. There isn’t a way to avoid software bugs as software is written by humans who are error prone. Small bugs can be typos in some text while showstopper bugs may cause the entire software to be unusable.

Filing Helpful Bugs Reports

When a software bug is found, it is reported to the engineering team via a bug report that contains information on what the bug is. The worst kind of bug reports are “this doesn’t work; fix it” where there’s not enough information to investigate the issue. A lot of time can be wasted to figure what scenario causes the bug to occur.

Great bugs reports should have:

  • Steps to reproduce the issue: really important in order to pin point the area of the code where the bug occurs and to verify the that the fix works
  • Logs: logs can help pinpoint the area of the code where the bug is
  • Expected behavior vs observed behavior: the reporter may be expecting a certain behavior but the software functions as intended
  • Which software version it was found in: a bug found in version X.X.X may have already been fixed in the latest version.
  • Severity: how bad is the bug?

It’s not realistic to expect all these from customers as they may not be able to supply logs. At the very minimum, the steps to reproduce and the software version provided would greatly reduce the time spent to investigate the bug.

“Not a bug. Working as intended.”

Bug Triage — severity, prioritization, and risk analysis

How bugs are handled is very similar to an emergency room of a hospital where there are a…

Steven Bui

👨‍💻 Software Developer 👨‍🏫 Engineering Leader 🕵️‍♂️ Problem Solver