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How to track bugs

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Build a bug management process

Follow these best practices to effectively track bugs, fix them quickly, and keep a tight feedback loop with customers. Linear offers a suite of features to help you streamline the process and scale it as your organization changes and grows.

1. Use a simple label structure

When tracking bugs, simplicity is your best friend. You’re going to file and fix hundreds to thousands of bugs. Keep the label system so simple that it’s easy to file them, find them, and later to build automations and metrics on top of your label structure.

By default, Linear workspaces come with a workspace-level Bug label that is available to all teams. We recommend sticking to just this one, to keep the data clean and bugs easy to find and filter.

To track specific types of bugs, add secondary labels instead of using additional bug-related labels (e.g. apply Bug Front-end labels to an issue instead of creating a new Front-end bug label). If you must create multiple labels for bugs, file them all under a single Bug label group.

2. Share bug report templates

Create bug report templates to guide teammates when filing bug reports. Keep them simple and short. Templates should make it easier for anyone to create bug reports, not make the process more onerous.

  • Create a workspace-wide bug report template that applies the bug label and includes guidance as placeholder text.
  • To apply a template to issues created from Slack, set a default template for non-team members. It’ll be applied whenever someone outside of the team creates an issue in Slack.
  • Customize your team’s settings to require issues get assigned a priority before they’re moved out of Triage.

3. Simplify intake with Triage

If you’ve made it easy for anyone to file bug reports (a good thing), they’ll come from many different sources. Set up a way to route all issues to one place, so it’s easy to review and assign these bug reports to the engineering team.

Linear’s Triage feature sets up an ideal routing system for you. It’s a special inbox designed for you quickly review and assign issues. Seamless integrations let your frontline team create issues from the tools that they use most. Learn more from our Triage tutorial.

TeamCreate bug reports from these tools
Customer SupportIntercom, Zendesk, Front
Sales & OperationsSlack
DevOpsSentry, Bugsnag
AnyoneCustom tooling with API, Zapier

4. Build tight feedback loops

Delight customers by fixing the bugs that annoy them the most. Create a tight feedback loop with customer by filing their feedback and getting back to them when bugs are fixed.

Linear’s native integrations with Zendesk, Intercom, and Front make it so easy to file bugs from customer issues. Create issues directly from conversations, link to or quote conversations in the new issues, and even link conversations to existing bug reports. Support agents see issue status and other key details if customers write in, and conversations re-open automatically when linked bugs are fixed so you can close the loop.

5. Build in automations

Whenever possible, enable automations to speed up the triage process and help you prioritize the most important bugs.

You can set up the following bug-related automations in Linear:

  • Configure SLAs to add automated deadlines to issues matching certain parameters. These will also trigger notifications to the assignee as the deadline approaches.
  • Send Sentry alerts to Linear automatically.
  • Auto-close low priority bugs. If it’s not completed by your team’s auto-close settings, consider it a #wontfix.

Optimize your workflow

Move faster and personalize your triage workflow with these features and customizations:

Level up

Get more out of Triage by using these additional features:

Prioritize high-priority bugs with SLAs

Enable SLAs in your workspace so that they are automatically applied to issues when they match certain parameters. This can help signal important issues in the Triage queue and ensure that time-sensitive issues are prioritized. Learn more

Example SLAs
When priority is urgentApply 24 hour SLA
When priority is high and the label includes bugApply 1 week SLA
When priority is low and the label includes bugApply 2 week SLA

Enable support automations

If you use Zendesk, Intercom, Front, or Plain, we recommend checking out the integration and using it in combination with Triage.

Any issues created by your customer support team through the integration will go to Triage, where they can trust someone from the engineering team will review the issue. The integrations make it easy for the support team to track progress on top customer issues and communicate with the engineering team when questions arise. Engineers debugging issues can view the initial conversation from Linear or follow the linked conversation to learn more or directly reach out to the customer. It's easy to close the feedback loop with customers, too, since conversations re-open when Linear issues are closed. Learn more