Start in the South #82 - How to report bugs to your dev team

And keep things moving forward

Working well with a technical team—whether your own or a third party—is crucial to building a successful SaaS product. Today’s read focuses on how you can help a team of developers resolve bugs 🐜🐛🐞 (a problem with the software) and keep moving forward. A win-win.

You made the leap and hired a development team. It was terrifying sorting through all of the potential options. But you finally found a team that spoke to you. They made you feel less scared.

So you threw in with them and put all your chips on the table.

For the past 3 months, you’ve been working together to get your app off the ground. You started with wireframes, mockups, and branding. The app designs looked beautiful, and you were so excited to get it in your hands. Excited for the potential your business holds.

You began talking to customers and saw excitement building there too. The scope changed over time, and together with your team, you worked through it.

Now the time has finally come. Months in, thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours invested, and you get to interact with the first iteration of your app.

But something’s broken. You could react in a number of ways, but only one way will move the project forward at a fast pace:

Step 1 - Breathe #

First, breathe. Bugs are normal in this part of the process. Software is incredibly complicated to build. A missing semicolon in 1 line out of 20,000 can cause major issues. Your team has been so close to the code that they are going to miss things. Even with automated tests and a careful vetting process, issues will slip through the cracks.

This is why you aren’t rolling the product out to all of your customers on day 1. This is your chance to get into the weeds and make your mark on your product.

Step 2 - Gather information #

The more information you give your team, the faster they’ll be able to identify and fix the issue. This means less time wasted on small bugs, and more time focused on making your app better.

When a developer receives a bug report, their first step is to try to replicate the issue. This shows them exactly what’s happening, and gives them the ability to step through the code to see where the problem might be coming from. If they can’t replicate the issue, they have to resort to trial and error for fixing the problem—a much less efficient process.

To help a developer fix the issue fast, gather as much information as you can.

  • What steps did you take leading up to the bug?
  • What device are you using?
  • If you’re on the web, what browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge) are you using?
  • What information did you put into the app?
  • What does the bug look like? Can you take a screenshot of it?
  • What happens after the bug?
  • How critical is this to the business operation?
    • Keep in mind if everything is marked critical, nothing is critical

Step 3 - Report #

Analyzing, organizing, and prioritizing bug reports can quickly become an unwieldy process if you don’t follow a standard process. When bug reports are sent in through multiple channels (Slack, email, and phone), things tend to slip through the cracks and some of the bugs don’t get captured and fixed

To ensure all your bugs get fixed, report bugs 1 at a time in the format your team requests. At Krit, we keep all bugs in the backlog in Trello. Each bug is a card. Information about how to reproduce the issue, the browser and device used, screenshots, etc. can be added to the description of the card.

Our team will then analyze it, assign a difficulty to it, and use that information to prioritize the bug in our workflow.

Step 4 - Be patient #

Your team wants a working product just as much as you do. Make sure your priorities are clear and then allow your developers to do what they do best. Patience and understanding, especially during stressful times, will earn you a ton of credibility and result in better work.

The bottom-line: Bugs are a normal part of building good software. They show you’re moving fast and iterating on your product (perfection is the enemy of progress and all that). Take the time to report them properly, and your team will thank you for it. They’ll also be able to handle them more efficiently and focus on what really drives your business forward.