If you apply a good testing process, you usually get as an output a whole bunch of bugs found in your code. However, you also have the pressure to ship your product on time. Especially in an agile environment with regular releases, this means that you often don’t have the time to fix all bugs that you have found in one sprint. To still ship a product with maximum quality, you must start prioritizing your bugs. In this article, I’ll share some practical advice on how you can achieve this prioritization in practice.

Classify Bugs based on their impact

The more functionality is impacted by a bug, and the more likely your customer is unsatisfied by this faulty functionality, the higher the severity of your bug. An obvious example: if the login doesn’t work, most part of your software might not be accessible any more. This sounds like quite a high priority to me… So if you identify a bug, always reference the features that is impacted by this bug, and then think about the following questions

  • What are features that depend on the correct functioning of the impacted feature (in the case of the non-working login, chances are that most parts of your software cannot be accessed any more)?
  • How likely are customers to refrain from using your shipped product because of the faulty feature (and dependent features)? Again, if they cannot log in, it’s quite likely that customers won’t use your software any more (simply because they can’t).

Order Bugs based on their Priority

Once you know which bugs have the bigget impact, and are associated with the most faulty part of your software, you also have to use this information in practice. This means that you should always have a list of open bugs. In this list, each bug is ordered based on its priority. This priority is set from the information you gathered in the classification process. Bugs that concern faulty parts of your software (i.e. with many found bugs) should be ordered first. Bugs that contain the same software part should be ranked based on their impact. If two features are similarly faulty, the bugs regarding these different features should also be ranked based on the impact of the feature on the customer satisfactin. Once you have created a list based on these criteria, once you can spare some time for bug fixing, you simply start working on the bug on the top of the list – and then proceed to tick the bugs off the list one by one, from bottom to top.

With the advice you have received in this article, you should be able to efficiently prioritize your bugs to make the most out of your time spent on bug fixing. So – what are you waiting for? Apply it in your projects, and let me know your experiences in the comments section below!

Image by storyset on Freepik

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