Bug tracking process smells in practice
Software teams use bug tracking (BT) tools to report and manage bugs. Each record in a bug tracking system (BTS) is a reporting entity consisting of several information fields. The contents of the reports are similar across different tracking tools, though not the same. The variation in the workflow between teams prevents defining an ideal process of running BTS. Nevertheless, there are best practices reported both in white and gray literature. Developer teams may not adopt the best practices in their BT process. This study investigates the non-compliance of developers with best practices, so-called smells, in the BT process. We mine bug reports of four projects in the BTS of JetBrains, a software company, to observe the prevalence of BT smells in an industrial setting. Also, we survey developers to see (1) if they recognize the smells, (2) their perception of the severity of the smells, and (3) the potential benefits of a BT process smell detection tool. We found that (1) smells occur, and their detection requires a solid understanding of the BT practices of the projects, (2) smell severity perception varies across smell types, and (3) developers considered that a smell detection tool would be useful for six out of the 12 smell categories. © 2022 IEEE.