MikeK's software notebook

MikeK's software notebook

What you will find

This used to be the place where I wrote stuff I was thinking about while working on the Mozilla project.

Maybe in the near future I'll start to update it again as I'm involved in a couple of new open-source projects - updates pending...

Bug tracking process

RandomPosted by Mike Kristoffersen 27 Mar, 2009 14:11:12
I just posted a reply to m.d.platform about the bug tracking process:

On 27-03-2009 06:46, Jeff Walden wrote:
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=460090
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=485217
>
> A bug was filed, a patch was posted, but it didn't get in the tree until
> "too late" (for a not-worst-case-scenario definition of the phrase, but
> still way too close to it for comfort). Some questions to ponder:
>
> When did we fail to keep things moving along?
> How do we make the process clearer and more discoverable for new hands?
> What documentation needs to be modified to help that clarification?
> How and where should such documentation be found, and where should we
> position links to it on our sites to make it easy to find?
> How should responsibility for making sure posted patches get in the tree
> be split up?
> Are there any changes we should make to the super-review process (or the
> review process) to ensure patches don't fall through the cracks?
> Where do we document any such changes? (Do we even *have* any
> documentation on doing non-super-review reviews and what the goal of a
> review is?)
>
> Those are just for starters, and I'm sure there are others people can
> bring up as discussion happens.
>
> All comments are appreciated.
>
> Jeff

Being relatively green in the Mozilla processes I don't know the details of how it is handled today - but it seems to depend a lot on humans doing things that could be happening automatically. Another problem is documentation of the process - I have been told part of the process, but never seen the document that describes it - now this might be because I didn't search for it - I'll get back to that in a sec.

So the issues I see are:

1) Lack of automation
2) You need to pull to know the process - (especially bad when the process changes)

----

What I would like to see is that this gets integrated into bugzilla, let me explain:

- I'll assume that we have a well defined process, stating which states a bug can enter from a given other state, and the reasons/triggers for each state change. (I think it is out of scope to discuss the specific states here, as the point being that there are states)

- Now, any active bug must at all times have someone or a group that is responsible for it (by active I mean, a bug that is not fixed and in the tree or one that has been closed for another reason - like "working as intended")

- This means that if you are not responsible for a bug then you are not expected to do anything with it. So when you call for a review on a bug, you are no longer responsible for the bug, unless it comes back to you with a failed review - this could be automated, if you set the review flag "state", then if the reviewer fails the review (setting the "failed review" state) it gets automatically assigned back to the one who requested the review.

- When you get assigned to a bug (for validation, testing, reviewing, fixing, committing, what ever reason) you should receive an e-mail. (Where you at a glance, from the title of the e-mail, can see that it is about something you (or a group you are a member of) are getting assigned to)

- When a bug that you are assigned to is opened, you could get a description that explains what you are supposed to do, this text being defined by the state the bug is in, "Verify the bug", "Review attached patch", etc.

You then only get the options for changing states that is defined by the process - with a description of why you would want to move it to that state (e.g. for a bug you are assigned to fixing - you could have:

1) A fix for the bug has been attached => state=waiting for review, assignedTo=reviewer

2) You can't reproduce the bug => state=more info wanted, assignedTo=reporter

3) You don't have time to work on it now => state=waiting for time, assignedTo=you

4) You have accepted there is an issue and are working on fixing it => state=accepted working on it, assignedTo=you

etc. note that the above choice are only to illustrate the principle, the actual states are again out of scope for this discussion.

----

The above should give visibility to the process - there is only one rule you must know - if you get a bug assigned, it is your responsibility to move it to the next state - you are told everything else you need to know when you open the bug in bugzilla.

If the bug at any state gets assigned to a group instead of an individual, everyone in that group can then change the assignment to an individual person in the group (so we don't get multiple persons working on the same issue unintentionally).

----

So how do we ensure that bugs don't gets forgotten by individuals / stay in the system for ever (or past an important deadline)?

-Assuming there are someone responsible for any given product and/or area then these people should be able to setup triggers with time-limits, so if a high impact bug stays in the review state for more than a specified time, then the one responsible for the product gets notified, and can choose to take appropriate action.

-In my view, it should never be e.g. a developers responsibility to prioritize for or push a reviewer - it must be the project that does this kind of prioritization.

-It is the same if you report an issue, you are only expected to give a useful description of the issue. In my view, the reporter should not push the fixing, by any other means than perhaps setting the initial severity of the bug - it is the responsibility of the project, or owner of the area to do the prioritization with respect to the other tasks at hand.

----

I have written a little about automation in the above, e.g. the triggers the project owner can set if relevant bugs gets stalled in the system, and the e-mails that are send with tags in the title if you get assigned something new (at least we have the e-mails today)

But the automation could also continue into choosing who to assign bugs to at any given state - so if I create a new bug, it could automatically get assigned to the group (or individual) responsible for the area where the bug is reported in (with the e-mail notification)

When a bug is moved to the review state, the reviewer could be chosen from the files that are patched, etc.


^__^
Mike

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