As a PM in SQL Server I read through just about every bug entered for the components my team owns. Given the surface area of what my team owns this translates into a lot of bugs. I don’t characterize it that way to disrespect the team or the quality of the product but rather to make a point there are a lot of things that are vying for attention. Add in the new feature requests and there’s a lot to look at. We have limited resources and limited time. We cannot possibly fix every bug. So we have to prioritize what we work on and when we work on it. The first order of business is to determine which bugs are “real”.
When we triage bugs we take in account many different factors. For example, how many customers does it impact, how often will a user hit it, is there a workaround, is it a regression, does the bug result in data loss or a crash.
So the question is how do you get your bug fixed? Here are some tips for increasing the odds:
1) Include detailed information about your environment. What OS are you running, what SP, are you up to date with Microsoft Update critical updates, what other interesting software do you have installed (think Visual Studio),
2) Include detailed information about your SQL install. What is the full version number, how many instances do you have on the machine, is it a named instance, what’s the collation, what SQL components are installed, etc.
3) Include detailed steps to reproduce the problem. Be as specific and detailed as possible. State if the problem consistently happens or is intermittent.
4) State what you expected to happen vs what actually happened. Include a screen shot if applicable
5) Include all error messages. If you get an exception, include the full exception message.
6) Finally, include the impact the bug has on your “business”. Do you have to reboot the machine every time you hit it – meaning you have to take down a server.
Does doing all this guarantee your bug will be fixed? No. But it does increase the odds. Remember, if we don’t understand the bug we can’t fix it. If we can’t repro it, we can’t fix it.
Oh, one last thing. Don’t be disrespectful in the bug. You’d be amazed some of the comments we get in bugs. Why would I put any effort in to a bug that came from someone who’s insulting me, the team, or the product? Think of it this way. Would you hire someone with a sloppy resume and insulting comments? Would you expect to be hired with that resume?
One more last thing. I’m a big fan of Connect. Yes, it has its quirks, but it’s an invaluable tool for collecting and responding to customer feedback.