Improving bug triage using "user pain" method
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Bug triage is a difficult process, and a method using "user pain" criteria could improve it a lot. This method is described with full details on: http://www.lostgarden.com/2008/05/improving-bug-triage-with-user-pain.html
It uses the following inputs for each bug report:
- Type (What type of bug is this?)
- 7: Crash: Bug causes crash or data loss. Asserts in the Debug release.
- 6: Major usability: Impairs usability in key scenarios.
- 5: Minor usability: Impairs usability in secondary scenarios.
- 4: Balancing: Enables degenerate usage strategies that harm the experience.
- 3: Visual and Sound Polish: Aesthetic issues
- 2: Localization:
- 1: Documentation: A documentation issue
- Priority (How will those affected feel about the bug?)
- 5: Blocking further progress on the daily build.
- 4: A User would return the product. Cannot RTM. The Team would hold the release for this bug.
- 3: A User would likely not purchase the product. Will show up in review. Clearly a noticeable issue.
- 2: A Pain – users won’t like this once they notice it. A moderate number of users won’t buy.
- 1: Nuisance – not a big deal but noticeable. Extremely unlikely to affect sales.
- Likelihood (Who will be affected by this bug?)
- 5: Will affect all users.
- 4: Will affect most users.
- 3: Will affect average number of users.
- 2: Will only affect a few users.
- 1: Will affect almost no one.
The basic equation for calculating User Pain is as follows:
User_Pain = (Type * Likelihood * Priority) / Max_Possible_Score
User pain is automatically recalculated when a new bug is entered and whenever a bug changes.
Implementing it with Trac would basically mean:
- Use the three existing scoring fields for tickets to provide for Type, Priority, Likelihood scales.
- Create a dynamic "user pain" score for each ticket that would be computed each time one enters a new bug in the database (only the "Max Possible Score" changes, therefore it shouldn't be too resource intensive).
There are at least three benefits to this approach:
- Developers always know what to fix.
- It promotes shared code ownership.
- Bugs that prevent you from shipping don't accumulate.
As a conclusion: read this article! This is a treasure trove of great ideas about bug management (and software development in general). I did a summary, but it has great ways to be more subtle: increase pain slightly over time to avoid small bugs to be never fixed, etc.
If anyone knows how to develop a plugin for Trac that does this, I will be glad to test it. Thanks in advance for your help!