Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Humans

We made about three decisions:
  1. We use Jira for defect tracking.
  2. We allow scripts and utilities to log defects (e.g., when a hardware failure occurs, or when a machine isn't clean after a test)
  3. All defects including escalations from the field, human reported issues, and machine reported issues are roughly the same regardless of origin. Any of them may lead to a high or low priority, or be against any one or more of the components of the software.
  4. Sometimes all I remember about a bug is that a human reported it. (This one isn't a decision; it's just the way my mind works.)
Effectively, these decisions mean sometimes I'm trying to track down a bug that I remember and all I can remember about it is that someone in support or QA reported it, we've known about it for a while, and it's related to timezone settings. So I want to search Jira for an issue not reported by a machine with the phrase "timezone" in it.

Trouble is, Jira doesn't let you - at least through their GUI - create a search with only a NOT. I can't, for example say that the reporter is NOT automatedReporter (our Jira user for automated bug reporting). I can say it's X NOT Y, but I can't simply say NOT Y. So I made a group in Jira called "Humans" and I put everyone but automatedReporter in that group.

Which means that in my job, sometimes I'm searching for an issue found by a human.

For some reason, that cracks me up!


  1. Clever hack. :)

    I used JIRA for a few months, at a client site. My main takeaway was how awful the UI was; I felt like I was using the web, circa 2000.

  2. Hi Catherine,
    I manage the QA team at Atlassian.

    If you are using JIRA 4.0 or above you should be able to say NOT Y using JQL (JIRA Query Language). E.g. if automatedReporter is a user then you can search for all issues not raised by automatedReporter with this advanced search:

    not reporter = automatedReporter

    You can refine this with different operators and nested conditions if needed. Documentation for JQL is here:

    You'd be amazed at how many of our customers want a circa 2000 UI.

    However, we have begun updating it, starting with the view issue screen in the latest 4.1 release. If you're interested, the release notes with screenshots are here:

  3. Andrew, thanks for the comment. Confession: we're still on 3.13.x. That's good to know, though - provides impetus for doing the upgrade!

  4. Andrew: oh, and other than the usual quirks that most software has, Jira's been good for us. Product management, especially, is all over the charting capabilities that we didn't have in our last defect tracking system.