Taxonomy of bug tracking process smells: perceptions of practitioners and an empirical analysis
Context: While there is no consensus on a formally specified bug tracking process, some certain rules and best practices for an optimal bug tracking process are accepted by many companies and open-source software (OSS) projects. Despite slight variations between different platforms, the primary aim of all these rules and practices is to perform a more efficient bug tracking process. Practitioners’ non-compliance with the best practices not only impedes the benefits of the bug tracking process but also negatively affects the other phases of software development life cycle. Objective: The goal of this study is to gain a better knowledge of the bad practices that occur during the bug tracking process (bug tracking process smells) and to perform quantitative analysis to show that these process smells exist in bug tracking systems. Moreover, we want to know the perception of software practitioners related to these process smells and also observe the impact of process smells on the bug tracking process. Methods: Based on the results of a multivocal literature review, we analyzed 60 sources in academic and gray literature and propose a taxonomy of 12 bad practices in the bug tracking process. To quantitatively analyze these process smells, we inspected bug reports collected from eight projects which use Jira, Bugzilla, and GitHub Issues. To get an idea about the perception of practitioners about the taxonomy of bug tracking process smells, we conducted a targeted survey with 30 software practitioners. Moreover, we statistically analyzed the impact of bug tracking process smells on the resolution time and reopening count of bugs. Results: We observed from our empirical results that a considerable amount of bug tracking process smells exist in all projects and some of the process smell categories have statistically significant impacts on quality and speed. Survey results shows that the majority of software practitioners agree with the proposed taxonomy of BT process smells. Conclusion: The statistical analysis reveals that bug tracking process smells have an impact on OSS projects. The proposed taxonomy may serve as a foundation for best practices and tool support for detecting and avoiding bug tracking process smells. © 2022 Elsevier B.V.