In this article, we will be targeting all the points that you need to know about defect triage.
But before jumping to the article I’m expecting you are familiar with terms like a bug, defect, and bug priority and severity.
You can go through my previous articles on defect and bug priority and severity. They are absolutely short, crisp, and informative enough to get you started.
What is Defect Triage?
Defect triage is a process in which each defect should be prioritized, based on its severity, risk, and it’s frequency.
The word triage is a medical term and its dictionary meaning is, “the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.“
However, in testing, the term is used to prioritize bugs. The bugs that have high severity and priority are prioritized first.
Let me explain this through an example.
In the medical world, the word triage comes in to play when the doctor is approached by several patients at the same time. The patients are then triaged according to the severity of their illness.
A person who has met with a serious accident will be kept at a higher priority, than the person who has a common cold.
Similarly, a bug that can shut down the entire software will be prioritized first than a bug that does not affect the working of the system.
Need for Defect Triage
The ultimate goal of any defect triage meeting is to eliminate the scope of failure of the system. And to reach that goal is to resolve all the bugs according to their severity.
Supposedly numerous defects have come up, but we have very limited resources. In such times the defect triage meeting helps us meeting with our goals.
The bugs are removed by prioritizing them according to the severity and distributing them under respective developers or departments. This methodical approach proves to be very useful in critical situations.
Defect Triage Meeting
The triage meeting is held by the QA lead and includes the product manager, IT professionals, project manager, and business analysts. The goal of the meeting is to identify the defects, sort, and prioritize them.
The whole meeting categorizes the bug into 3 main parts-
- No action bug – this type of bug is considered a minor bug and does not need any immediate attention. It is usually a harmless bug and can be restored in the current or even the next release.
- Action on bug sometimes later in the timeline – this bug needs to be fixed but is not affecting in a major way. Therefore it can be fixed during the later development process of the system.
- Immediate action bug – such bugs need the immediate attention of developers and testers, these bugs can cause a complete shutdown of the system.
All resources are taken into consideration to take quick actions for the resolution of the bug.
The whole purpose of the meeting is exhaustive testing. Therefore, it is expected from each participant of the meeting to go through the documents maintained about the bugs.
The contribution of each member is equally important. They should be aware of the priority and severity of each bug beforehand.
A meeting can only be successful if a detailed record of each defect and it’s repercussions is maintained.
Defect Triage Process
- Defect Review is the first step towards the start of the meeting. All the bugs present are counted and identified. The origin of those bugs and their consequences are taken into consideration.
- Defect Assessment is the next step in the meeting. All the bugs are reviewed and categorized.
The categories are made according to the severity of the bug. The bugs are categorized into the ones to be fixed, the ones that need to go on hold, or the ones that need to be removed.
- Defect Assignment is the last step of defect triage. In this, the bugs categorized are divided among the concerned people or department. The respective departments take the final responsibility to fix the bugs.
Issues Raised in the Meeting
Whenever the meeting is held, there are several questions and issues raised during the meeting.
Some of the issues that are resolved are-
- Is the defect brought into light a valid defect?
- Can this defect increase and cause further damage?
- Does the defect needs immediate attention or can be deferred?
- If the bug needs to be resolved then scheduling of it
- What is the manpower required for the whole process?
- Are there enough resources available?
- The measure of impact on the system due to all the bugs
- Is there a need to hold more meetings?
- To what extent can all bugs be fixed?
- Business analysis of the whole project.
To solve all these issues, specific tasks are assigned to each member of the meeting. The usual common participants of the meeting are-
1. Test Lead
The test lead is the commander of the whole meeting. He is the one who schedules all defect triage meetings. He sends all the detailed reports about the defects beforehand, to all the participants.
The test lead also prioritizes the bug according to the severity and addresses the problems. The test lead keeps everyone updated about all the developments.
2. Development Team Lead
The lead of the development team analyzes all the risks and gives a final word on which defect needs to be fixed, left, or prioritized first.
He is the one who finally distributes the defects among the developers to fix the issues.
3. Project Manager
The project manager is the one who ensures the presence of each required member. He is the mediator between the client and the whole team. He makes sure the smooth working of the project, and update the team members with the updated schedule and release dates.
After knowing the need and process of the bug triage meeting, it can be concluded that it’s an effective approach towards the successful completion of any software project.
I hope now you would be able to understand the defect triage and defect triage process clearly.
Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.