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Not All Software Testing Defects should be Reported

If you are currently a software tester, or if you do not work in the field but you are familiar with the general concepts behind the ISEB / ISTQB Foundation certification, you are probably programmed to be a bug hunter.  Yes, identifying defects so they can be fixed is a huge part of what software testers do, but once in a while it is better to ignore certain bugs. 

For example, if you discover a defect that has no negative impact on the application’s functionality or the end user’s experience, it is probably not worth reporting.  Much like the philosophical question of whether or not a tree makes a sound when it falls if no one hears it, the same question can be asked about any given bug.  Specifically, if the bug does not negatively impact anything, is it really a bug?  In my opinion, the answer is a resounding no!

Think of it this way, your goal is not to identify bugs for the sake of identifying bugs, your goal is to report issues that will negatively impact the user.  Therefore, if there is no negative impact, then there is no bug even if something did not perform exactly as expected.  Period.

By avoiding the temptation to report bugs that are irrelevant, the entire software testing process will operate in a more efficient manner.  Simply put, spending time identifying or resolving bugs that have no negative impact is a waste of time, and makes tracking activities more complicated than they need to be.  I realize this may be difficult advice to follow because the temptation to report every little flaw is engrained in a typical software tester’s personality.  But try and resist the temptation because doing so is better for the efficiency of the process, not to mention your own sanity!

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