It’s amazing how one person’s interpretation of a bug can differ so much from another person’s interpretation of the same defect. It’s all down to perspective. Of not only all of the individual people involved, but also from the testing objective point of view and also the business point of view.
I was recently performing a regression test of a web app system which was undergoing an upgrade in the oracle database from 10G to 11G. I found a bug where clicking on a button caused the system to throw an application error message which informed the user to contact customer support.
So off I went to log the bug. I set the bug severity to critical – the functionality is completely broken and the user does not even see a suitable error message. I was astounded to find that the developer tasked with fixing the bug had downgraded it to be “Minor”!!
As I was getting prepared to offload a rant about why I felt the bug should be a high priority to be fixed, but the developer quickly got in there first with the fact that this bug was not introduced from the 11G upgrade but in fact, it had previously existed on the 10G build.
As I obtained this information, I pondered on the developers perspective – “as this bug is not related to the 11G changes made, then it is not of a high priority to fix for the 11G release to take place”. It kind of makes sense… from that perspective!
I then challenged him that from the system perspective, it’s still a critical bug. The functionality is not working at all, therefore from the perspective of an operational system, it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do and the functionality of this button is required to perform an important function, therefore it’s of critical priority.
The developer looked to be conceding the point, but then pointed out that from the user’s perspective – “the function can’t be that important as the 10G system had been operating on the live environment for a few months now and the users have never reported the problem to the customer support team”.
This got me thinking about the different influences that various perspectives can have on our judgement. The moral of the story: It’s important to try to think conceptually about each different angle that a bug can be viewed from, before making a snap judgement on the criticality of it.