Should QA Mention Details for the Root Cause of a Bug?

Should QA Mention Details for the Root Cause of a Bug?

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

In the field of Software Quality Assurance (QA), there is an ongoing debate about whether QA teams should mention the details of the root cause of a bug. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on this topic, drawing from various perspectives and practical examples.

Understanding the Different Types of Testing

Before delving into whether QA should mention root cause details, it’s essential to understand the types of testing involved:

  • White Box Testing: This type of testing involves understanding the internal workings of the application. Testers have access to the source code and use this knowledge to design test cases.
  • Black Box Testing: In contrast, black box testing focuses on testing the application based on the specifications without any knowledge of the internal code. Testers validate the functionality by providing inputs and examining the outputs.

When QA Should Mention Root Cause Details

Based on the nature of the testing, the role of QA in identifying and documenting root causes can vary:

  • White Box Testing: Since testers have access to the source code, they can identify and document root causes effectively. It helps them learn more about the system and improve their knowledge.
  • Black Box Testing: In this context, testers should focus on whether the specifications are met rather than why they are not. Knowing the internal details may detract from the primary objective of black box testing.

Best Practices for Root Cause Analysis

Regardless of the testing type, certain best practices can enhance the effectiveness of root cause analysis:

  • Consistent and Well-Defined Root Causes: Ensure a comprehensive and standardized list of root causes. Inconsistent terminology can lead to confusion and reduce the usefulness of the data collected.
  • Identify the True Root Cause: Go beyond the symptoms and identify the real root cause. For instance, if a database needs indexing, the root cause may be why it wasn’t indexed in the first place.
  • Collaborative Analysis: Engage both developers and QA teams in root cause analysis. This collaborative approach ensures a more accurate and holistic understanding of the issue.

Practical Examples

Consider the following scenarios to understand the importance of root cause analysis:

  • Search Functionality Issue: A search function in a web app fails for certain test data. By understanding from the developers that indexing would fix the error, QA can learn about the system and how to trigger indexing.
  • Delayed API Response: An API response delay causes unrelated UI elements to get disabled. Knowing this, QA can simulate delayed API responses in future tests to uncover similar issues.


QA teams should be involved in root cause analysis to enhance their understanding of the system and improve the robustness of their test cases. However, the extent of their involvement can depend on the type of testing. Collaborative root cause analysis involving both QA and developers can lead to more accurate and valuable insights.

How Repeato Can Help

For teams looking to streamline their testing processes, Repeato offers a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android. Repeato allows you to create, run, and maintain automated tests efficiently. Its computer vision and AI-based approach make it particularly fast to edit and run tests, ensuring that your QA team can focus on identifying and resolving root causes effectively.

For more information on improving your testing practices, explore our blog and documentation.

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