5 Easy Steps to an Effective Bug Bash

Valeriia Oliinyk

Jun 02, 20206 min read

5 Easy Steps to an Effective Bug Bash

Table of Content

  • Introduction

  • What is a Bug Bash? 

    • The Advantage of Bug Bash 

    • When to Use Bug Bash

  • How to Prepare for a Bug Bash 

    • Bug Bash Briefing 

    • How to Run a Bug Bash - 5 Steps 

  • Bug Bashes Unite

  • FAQs:

  • How do bug bashesNLP impact product development lifecycle?

  • The Evolving Landscape of Bug Bashes

  • Conclusion

 “It's not a bug - it's an undocumented feature.”


Finding bugs can be a draining experience, especially with limited resources and a small QA team. Increasingly, however, development teams are turning to the bug bash as a solution for streamlining this process, and as a means for gaining more confidence in the quality of their products. 

In fact, even big corporations such as Microsoft regularly employ bug bashes throughout their product development lifecycles. 

What is a Bug Bash? 

A bug bash is a procedure through which all developers, testers, program managers, designers and even marketers, put aside their usual daily duties and try to ‘break the app’. 

This is to say to use the product in every imaginable way so as to quickly smoke out any residual bugs that may still be hanging around.

It’s also commonly referred to as ‘pounding the product’. 

The Advantage of Bug Bash 

Everyone uses a product in their own way. Therefore, through this diversity of uses, successful bug bashes enable a team to identify a relatively greater number of bugs within a shorter time frame.

When to Use Bug Bash

To run a successful bug bash, the ideal time for running a bug bash will be before product release after all planned features have been developed and tested. 

Otherwise, implementing bug bashes during the development process risks the involvement of bugs that have been entered into the sprint backlog, but have not yet been addressed by the development team. This will increase the chances of a tester having to deal with a redundant bug that should/would already have been remedied at the point of post-product launch. 

How to Prepare for a Bug Bash 

Bug bashes are usually announced to the team a few days or weeks before the scheduled date. 

In some organizations, it will often be followed by a party and prizes for those having uncovered the worst bug and/or most errors.

Bug Bash Briefing 

The test management team will specify which parts of the product require testing, with detailed instructions being given to each participant on how to test and record detected bugs.

For smaller applications, this procedure is usually bypassed, with participants simply acting as ordinary end-users.

How to Run a Bug Bash - 5 Steps 

1. Define Bug Bashing Roles

Ensure you clearly define each role in a bug bash and that you distribute these roles appropriately. 

Invitees should act as end-users and/or test the application based on the scenarios provided. There are three main roles involved in the procedure: 

Stager - arranges meeting site, prepares all devices and provides access to the app being tested

Bug Master -  head supervisor for the entire event, presenting scenarios and supporting testers where there are and/or issues

Minutes-taker - reports and records all identified bugs and gathers all information for reproducing them 

2. Determine the Testing Scope and Duration 

As sustained focus and productivity in participants will be limited, the prepared scenarios in the bug bash generally shouldn’t exceed 45 minutes at a time. These may be shortened so that extra time is dedicated to exploratory testing.  

Test scenarios should include: 

Short descriptions 


End results 

Any potentially useful notes and general scenarios for testers should be included; often these will be in CSV file form. 

3. Invite Your Team 

It is good practice that invitations be sent a few weeks prior to the bug bash meeting and that all participants’ availability is verified in good time. 

An agenda outline of the bug bash should be provided in anticipation of the event as well as full details on prizes and incentives to encourage those taking part. Ensure a reminder is scheduled in the calendar a few days beforehand.

4. Create a Bug Bash Report Template 

Composing the bug report is crucial to proper preparation.

The ideal bug template should include:

  • Title
  • Short description 
  • Steps to reproduce
  • Expected behaviour
  • Actual behaviour
  • The browser and its version 
  • Test device (platform, model)
  • Screen recordings and/or screenshots

Jira or Trello are highly recommended for project management. 

It is advised that all discovered bugs be put into a simple CSV file to avoid duplication, should two or more testers happen to identify the same bug.

There is also the possibility that a bug will be invalid. This way, a Bug Master can later decide which bugs require attention and repair. 

Lastly, it is beneficial that some space in the template is provided for testers to submit their own ideas on UX improvements and on any new features that might improve the app’s quality.

5. During the Bug Bash 

Once all preparations are done, time for the fun part:

Intro - 5-10 minutes should be sufficient.

Role descriptions

Outline bug bash guidelines and rules

Explain the bug template

Provide brief scenario description depending on the level of app familiarity and complexity

Disclose prize descriptions and presentation procedure

Bug Hunting 

Encourage participants to ask any questions during the event

Set the countdown

Limit the procedure to 45-50 minutes so as to avoid fatigue and loss of focus

Post-Bug Bash 

Present statistics on all bugs discovered, also outlining their degree of severity. 

Should you be looking to establish bug bash as an integral part of the product development process, it is crucial that you gather feedback from your team so that you know how to improve the next bug bash session.  

And again, it is strongly advised that you provide tangible incentives for all participants, particularly as a way to bring those non-development staff members into the nearer orbits of the product development lifecycle. 

Some other ways to enhance the award ceremony would be to establish and award particular categories of achievement, such as:

Most severe bug

Most unique bug

Quickest bug discovery

Best bug hunter ('The Bug Hunter')

Most valuable feedback

Best ‘B-bash’ team 

Bug Bashes Unite

Beyond the awards ceremony, you’ll also find considerable rewards for the time and effort you invest in implementing the bug bash. Not only will you see for yourself an efficient, effective and thorough means for streamlining your product prior to launch, but you’ll also find bug bashes an ideal way to promote more inclusive interaction among colleagues and thus grow greater awareness and understanding of what the product development lifecycle really entails. 

Of course, at Startup House, we long loved a good ol’ bug bashing with the team, so if you’d like to get more ideas on how you can promote and develop this practice in your own establishment, feel free to reach out to us at


What is a bug bashNLP?
A bug bashNLP is a procedure where all the developersNLP, testers, program managersNLP, designers, and even marketers unite to try and 'break the app' to identify any lurking bugs.

How is a bug bash sessionNLP different from regular testing?
A bug bash sessionNLP is an intensive short-period event where everyone involved tries to find as many bugs as possible, unlike regular testing which follows a structured plan over a longer period.

What do bug bashesNLP offer over regular testing procedures?
Bug bashesNLP provide a unique opportunity to find bugs in a short time frame, leveraging the diverse ways different team members use the product.

When should a team run a bug bashNLP?
The ideal time to run a bug bashNLP is before the product release, after all planned features have been developed and tested.

How should teams prepare for a bug bash eventNLP?
Preparations for a bug bash eventNLP should include defining bug bashingNLP roles, determining the testing scope and duration, inviting the team with detailed instructions, creating a bug reportNLP template, and setting up the test environmentNLP.

Who typically participates in a bug bash sessionNLP?
A bug bash sessionNLP usually involves all the developersNLP, testers, program managersNLP, designers, documentation folksNLP, and even marketers.

What is the role of the bug masterNLP in the bug bash eventNLP?
The bug masterNLP acts as the head supervisor for the entire event, presenting scenarios, supporting testers, and deciding which reported bugs require attention and repair.

What does a typical bug reportNLP include?
A bug reportNLP should include the title, short description, steps to reproduce, expected behavior, actual behavior, browser/version, test device details, screen recordings/snapshots, and more.

How can teams prevent redundancy in bugs reportedNLP?
To prevent redundancy in bugs reportedNLP, it's advised that all discovered bugs be put into a simple CSV file. This helps in avoiding duplication, especially if multiple testers report the same bug.

What happens if a bug identified during a bug bash sessionNLP is deemed "not a bugNLP"?
If a reported issue is considered "not a bugNLP", the bug masterNLP can later decide its relevance and whether it requires any attention or modifications.

Are there any incentives provided during a bug bash sessionNLP?
Yes, many teams offer incentives such as prizes for the worst bug found, most errors uncovered, or even for the best bug hunterNLP during the session.

Why should companies consider organizing remote bug bashNLP sessions?
Remote bug bashNLP sessions allow teams working in different locations to participate, providing varied perspectives and promoting inclusivity in product testing.

What's the significance of the first bug bashNLP in product development?
The first bug bashNLP gives an initial intensive look into the product, helping identify critical bugsNLP and revealing potential areas of improvement.

How do bug bashesNLP contribute to enhancing customer experience?
Bug bashesNLP reveal bugs that might have been missed in regular testing, ensuring a smoother user experience and fewer issues for end-users.

How can teams improve their future bug bash sessionsNLP?
After each session, gathering feedback is crucial. It helps teams understand what went well and how they can improve the next bug bash sessionNLP.

What is exploratory bugNLP hunting?
Exploratory bugNLP hunting refers to a more free-form approach where testers use the product without specific scenarios, relying on their intuition and experience to discover bugs.

Why is documentation by the documentation folksNLP crucial during a bug bashNLP?
Detailed instructions by the documentation folksNLP ensure that testers have clear guidelines, promoting consistency in testing and ensuring that all potential issues are covered.

How do usability researchersNL contribute to bug bashesNLP?
Usability researchersNL provide insights into how real users might interact with the product, aiding in creating test scenarios that mimic real-world usage and uncovering potential usability issues.

What benefits do bug bashesNLP offer to program managersNLP?
For program managersNLP, bug bashesNLP provide a rapid assessment of the product's quality and a collaborative approach to uncovering issues, aiding in timely product enhancements and releases.

How do bug bashesNLP impact product development lifecycle?

Bug bashesNLP promote interaction among colleagues, creating a better understanding of the product development lifecycle. They act as an efficient way to streamline the product before launch, ensuring higher quality outputs.

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The Evolving Landscape of Bug Bashes

With the rapid transformation in the software development world, bug bashes have become a cornerstone in ensuring top-notch product quality. Here's a deep dive into how this approach is evolving and why it's indispensable for modern development teams.

Embracing Remote Work with Remote Bug Bash
As teams become more geographically dispersed, the concept of a remote bug bash has gained traction. Just as all the developers collaborate across time zones to develop software, they also unite virtually to detect and squash bugs. This method of remote collaboration can often yield better results, given the diverse environments and devices each participant brings to the table.

Planning Ahead with Pre Bug Bash
Before diving into the main bug bash event, a pre bug bash session can be immensely beneficial. This allows all the developers to familiarize themselves with the tools, processes, and expected outcomes. This preliminary session ensures that when the main bug bash event rolls around, participants can hit the ground running. For a deeper understanding of the test-first approach and its pivotal role in software development, delve into our comprehensive article on 'What Does a Test Written with Test Driven Development (TDD) Represent?'.

Involving All Hands on Deck
It's essential to recognize that bug bashes aren't just for the tech-savvy. All the developers play a pivotal role, of course, but even the documentation folks can provide insights that others might overlook. Their unique perspective on the product, combined with their keen eye for detail, often leads to discovering bugs related to user experience and content. Remember, your first bug bashNLP can set the tone for all subsequent ones, so having diverse inputs from the get-go is invaluable.


In an era where product quality can make or break a brand, bug bashes offer a reliable method to ensure software excellence. Whether it's your first bug bashNLP or you're an old hand at it, incorporating elements like a remote bug bash, engaging all the developers, and roping in the documentation folks can significantly elevate the outcomes. The more inclusive and diverse a bug bash event is, the more comprehensive and effective it will be. 

Published on June 02, 2020


Valeriia Oliinyk QA Engineer

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