Ep 76: You don’t own the bug

This week I talk about Bug Advocacy! This came swirling into my mind after seeing a couple of older blog posts about the matter and it turns out I have feelings on Bug Advocacy!

Definition: Simply put bug advocacy is that: advocating for a bug. Advocating that it should be prioritised and fixed.

There are different ways to do this:
– A decent bug report. A bug report in and of itself is bug advocacy, because you’re saying ‘hey, I found a thing, this is the affect it has’. If you give enough information, you’ll be conveying the importance of the bug and it’s effects.
– Advocacy during prioritisation meetings. Telling people that you think this bug is important, that it should be fixed.

One of these is definitely something testers should do. Bug reports should contain information so people can see and understand the effect and impact a bug or defect will have on the system and it’s users. This information is crucial so that the bug can be prioritised correctly for the team’s priorities.

Sometimes you might not agree with how the team has prioritised your bug. They might not think it’s actually a blocking bug, or that it’s that big a deal. Maybe they don’t think it’s a bug but instead a change request.

So what do you do here?
You can make sure that the PO or lead dev truey understands what the bug is and what affect it has. Maybe demo the bug to them, or talk them through it. If they explain their reasoning to them you can either counter it, or accept it (however begrudgingly).

You can fight for it, and this is where people start to be anti-advocacy. If a tester’s job is to present information only, and let other team members take that information and use it, then fighting for a bug to be fixed goes against that.

There are also plenty of reasons a bug might not be prioritised in a way you agree with: ignorance, incompetence, lack of time or resource, knowledge of business or user cases and functions.

If the team doesn’t think it’s worth fixing or fixing any time soon, you have to let it go. Just because you raised the bug, doesn’t mean you own the bug.

Further Reading
https://medium.com/allthingstesting/death-to-bug-advocacy-82cf0c057900
https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/lessons-learned-in/9780471081128/ch04.html
https://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org/training-2/courses/bug-advocacy/

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