How do you feel when a customer reports a bug?

There was a thread on the club on “how do you feel when you find bugs” and I was interested on → how do you feel when a customer reports a bug? Is it the same feelings that have been spoken about when you find a bug within development stages? Or more feelings of dread that the team missed something? Or maybe it’s a positive thing where the team reacts in a lesson learned way?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts (and any tips).


At the end of the talk “Risk-based Testing” James Bach says that the tools he showed do not guarantee that every risk will be uncovered, but that they make a professional and reasonable process - he says that no one can say you were sloppy or careless.

People die because doctors didn’t think about X, Y, or Z, but if they have acted professionally, under their context and the state of the craft, they are not to be blamed as bad professionals.

If you are secure that your testing is professional, don’t let others (especially people that don’t understand testing) point out that you are to blame for some bug.

(Which of course doesn’t mean that you can do professional testing in any context - if I say I can test medical devices or hardware, I would be fooling my clients and thus being a bad professional)


I think my reaction is to say “How did they do that?”. The answer to that question will help us to find out:

  • Whether there’s a shortcoming in the coding - i.e. there is a bug;
  • Whether they are trying to do something the software wasn’t designed to do - in which case,
    a) the requirements gathering and specification process fell short, and/or
    b) there may be a case for treating that as a feature request, not a bug (but be careful with that; over time, clients may come to consider all their “Why doesn’t the app do X?” ideas as good ones); or
  • Whether they are trying to do something that they shouldn’t - in which case,
    a) Is there a training requirement? Do we need to improve our support mechanisms to
    educate the user not to do that thing in future?; and
    b) Do we need to improve the way the software responds to bad user actions? Do we need to improve error messaging/user feedback?

It triggers an anxious response in me, along the lines of ‘How did that get past me?’
The daft thing is that I am currently working on a system that has been around longer than i have been testing it, so the bugs reported by the customer are in areas I havent looked at. The reaction remains the same.


I’ve definitely been there in the past when I start to blame myself of missing something… :fearful::fearful:


I feel the same. It’s then an opportunity to update the test plan.