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Defect Tracking: 5 Tips for Bug Reports

Mary Clare Riordan • July 14, 2015

By Sasha Korobko

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel – your eCommerce site is nearing completion. The Development team is working hard to make sure the application code does what it’s supposed to do. But what happens when they run into software bugs – and they will – can greatly influence the project timeline and budget.

Why Use a Defect Tracking System?

That’s why it’s so important to effectively keep track of the bugs or defects on your site. Using an online system for logging problems allows you to:

  • share information with every member of the team
  • track progress
  • monitor issues

Once you’ve a system in place, you should set some standards to follow. To help you establish an effective system, we’ve pulled together some best practices for you to keep in mind when filling out bug reports.

Subject: This is where people should describe the bug, summarizing it in approximately 60 or fewer characters. A good summary should quickly and uniquely identify a bug report. If not enough information is provided, a developer/QA/PM cannot meaningfully identify your bug by the subject; your team member should be able to glance at the subject and quickly reassign it to the right person or identify if it’s a configuration issue or a real defect. It’s a good practice to add the site name (if there are multiple sites for the same project) and the browser version.

BAD EXAMPLE: “Weird product is showing up when I add a gift option to the item that was selected in previous steps,” or “When I see items without the gift option they look fine, but when I add wrapping, new item is shown.”

GOOD EXAMPLE: [Site Name][Browser Version] Unidentified product is being added to the cart after gift wrapping option was selected.

Description: This covers a high-level issue description of the issue. It should:

  • Provide an Overview, or provide a detailedexpansion of the summary.

BAD EXAMPLE: Went to checkout page. See wrong gift wrapping item.

GOOD EXAMPLE: On the checkout process pages (Step1- Shipping Information, Step2 – Billing Information) after gift wrapping is added for one of the products in the cart, an unidentified additional product is added in the Order Summary section of the page.

  • Outline Steps to Reproduce the Problem. By providingeasy-to-follow steps that triggered the bug, team members will be able to see exactly what’s going wrong in order to fix the problem. Include any special setup steps, login information, account information, and any other details that will make it easy to see the problem.

BAD EXAMPLE: Went to check out page. Added gift wrapping. Noticed new items in the shopping cart.


Navigate to any product category page.

Select a product and add it to your cart.

Proceed with a checkout process. Navigate to Step1 – Shipping Information page.

On the Step1 page add a gift wrapping option for the added product.

After gift wrapping is added look at the Order Summary section on the Step1 and Step2 (Billing Information).

  •  Be Clear about Results. Provide both the current, incorrect behavior AND what behavior you expect to see. Sometimes, you may want to explain why the behavior is not what you expect. Add any additional documents to support actual or expected behavior.


Actual result: Unidentified item with title “unidentified” is being added to the Order Summary Section on the Step1 and Step2 of the checkout process.

Expected result: After gift wrapping is added for the product, no additional items should be displayed in the Order Summary section. Only price for the gift wrapping should be displayed as a separate instance in the Payment Summary box.

Additional Information:  In most bug reports, it’s usually very helpful to add a screenshot or video of the issue that is happening. These can clarify what you’re trying to describe in a bug report, and will make it easier for your team to comprehend.  One of the best free tools to capture screenshots or videos and share is Jing.

Prioritize Defects: Assign a level of importance of each issue to help determine the priority.  Use these definitions to indicate the severity of the issue:

  • Low: A cosmetic problem, such as a misspelled word or misaligned text, or small UI issue.
  • Normal: It’s a bug that should be fixed before launch if timeline allows.
  • Urgent: The software crashes, hangs, or causes you to lose data, this defect should be fixed before launch.
  • Critical: Usually a blocking issue (i.e. it prevents user from taking an action such as placing an order).

Assign Issues: Each issue you come across when testing your site needs to be assigned to a person who will be responsible determining what needs to be done, how soon it needs to be taken care of, and which development resource (individual) will resolve the issue. Assigning each and every defect to an individual will make sure they are handled in a timely manner.

Solving Defects

Having a well-organized defect tracking system in place will streamline your site testing, enable your team to effectively collaborate to solve issues, and lead to a quality site. Follow these simple best practices and your developers will thank you; and the process will go a lot smoother for all. To learn more, contact us.


Sasha Korobko is a QA Manager at Lyons Consulting Group. She has 10 years of experience in IT and is an expert in building teams, working with automation and manual testing, and working on creative solutions. In her free time, she loves to travel, do improv comedy, and dance Lindy Hop til midnight.

Mary Clare Riordan

About the author

Mary Clare Riordan

Mary Clare Riordan is the Marketing Programs Manager at LYONSCG. When she's not running creative demand generation campaigns, you can find her cheering on Boston sports and Marquette basketball, running along the Chicago lakefront, or spending time with family and friends.

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