How and Why To Implement Bug Triage In Agile Software Testing [updated 2024]

How and Why To Implement Bug Triage In Agile Software Testing [updated 2024]
Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano / Unsplash

There are various methods we use to identify bugs during the testing phase. For instance, we discover bugs while conducting functional testing of the latest features implemented in each sprint, during regression testing, and after exploratory testing sessions. Additionally, some bugs are detected by an automation framework that runs a regression suite regularly.

After all this work, we are left with a considerable number of bugs that remain in the backlog. Only a few of them are critical enough (by "critical" I mean from a product management perspective) to be prioritized for fixing in the current sprint.

The term triage comes from the medical world and refers to the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition and the available resources. Triage aims to maximize the number of lives saved with the limited resources available by prioritizing care based on medical needs. It helps ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment promptly, especially in situations where resources are scarce or overwhelmed.

The concept also applies to software testing in a very similar way.


Bug triage is the process of assessing open bugs to determine what action needs to be taken and to prioritize them based on their severity, risk, and frequency of occurrence. In some cases, the Product Owner takes responsibility for selecting bugs from the backlog that have a higher impact and priority from the product perspective and need to be addressed and fixed in the upcoming sprint.

Understanding the severity and priority of defects/bugs is fundamental in the triage process. Severity refers to the impact of the defect on the system or user experience, while priority determines the urgency with which the defect/bug should be addressed.

Several questions also arise during the bug triage process :

  • Is the bug still valid or not?
  • Is the bug still reproducible or not?
  • Is the bug worth fixing or not?
  • When should be the bug fixed?


Bug Triaging involves:

  • Making sure the bug is still reproducible using the steps provided in the description. If it cannot be reproduced, the tester who checks the bug will close it with the appropriate status.
  • Make sure the bug has enough information for the developers to be able to reproduce it. Otherwise, additional information is requested from the reporter and the bug is put on hold for fixing until it gets all the data that is needed.
  • Make sure that the Severity and Priority fields are properly set.
  • Revisiting and rediscussing the priority of the bugs being triaged based on their severity.


Defect triage meetings play a pivotal role in software testing by ensuring that defects are systematically evaluated and addressed.

We observed several advantages of using the bug triage activity before starting a sprint.

Doing the bug triage constantly:

  • The backlog got cleaned and we could get rid of old and untouched bugs.
  • Having a clean backlog, offered us better visibility.
  • In the Agile development process, we establish certain expectations for the number of user stories to be delivered and bugs to be fixed before beginning a new sprint. By using the bug triage, we have become more pragmatic in setting the amount of work for the upcoming sprint, which has helped us avoid investing development time in investigating bugs that are incomplete or unreproducible.

Happy testing!