Managing Tests Affected by Known Bugs: Best Practices

Managing Tests Affected by Known Bugs: Best Practices

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

When dealing with automated tests that fail due to known bugs, it can be challenging to decide the best course of action. The dilemma often revolves around whether to leave the test in the test set or remove/mark it as an expected failure. Each approach has its pros and cons, and the decision can significantly impact the efficiency of your testing process.

Understanding the Problem

If a test fails because of a known bug that is deemed lower priority, leaving the test in the test set can lead to false alarms and mask other newly introduced bugs. On the other hand, removing or marking the test as an expected failure could result in the bug being ignored indefinitely, which is also undesirable.

Approach 1: Tri-modal Result System

A highly effective method is to use a tri-modal result system: pass, warn, or fail. This approach involves configuring tests affected by low-priority bugs to report a warning instead of a failure. This way, the test set can run to completion without causing downstream effects, and new bugs can still be identified promptly.

Implementing this system requires a modular, data-driven framework, but the benefits include:

  • Minimizing the impact of known bugs on the overall test run.
  • Ensuring new issues are detected early.
  • Maintaining a clean and actionable report for each test run.

Approach 2: Automated Test Management

Another approach is to integrate the test management system with the bug tracking system. By marking known failures in a database with links to the bug tracking system, tests can be automatically reactivated once the bug is resolved. This method ensures that tests do not fall through the cracks and are re-enabled without manual intervention.

Approach 3: Ad Hoc Investigation

In some environments, developers and testers work closely together to conduct ad hoc investigations when a test fails due to a known bug. This collaborative approach can include:

  • Adding explanations to the test script for known issues.
  • Keeping tests running with documented excuses for failures.
  • Reducing the number of tests for a known issue to an exemplar to minimize noise.

This method allows for continuous monitoring and quick identification of new bugs while managing known issues effectively.


Choosing the right strategy to handle tests affected by known bugs depends on your specific testing environment and requirements. Implementing a tri-modal result system, integrating test management with bug tracking, or conducting ad hoc investigations are all viable options. The key is to maintain a balance between identifying new issues and managing known bugs efficiently.

Enhancing Test Management with Repeato

Managing tests and bugs can be streamlined with the right tools. Repeato, a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android, helps you create, run, and maintain automated tests for your apps quickly and efficiently. With features like computer vision and AI, Repeato ensures that your tests are easy to set up and modify, making it an excellent choice for quality assurance teams looking to manage their test suites effectively.

For more information on how Repeato can enhance your testing processes, visit our documentation or contact us.

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