Progressive vs. Non-Progressive Bugs

In the past year or so, I have used this comparison when talking with our product and development teams. I highlight the differences in what I term Progressive and Non-Progressive Bugs.  While they are both in the bug category, one is more helpful in gaining insight into the state of the system as well as moving us along the path to even more insight.

Others may have varying terms/definitions for the same thing, but I have found this to be helpful in getting my point across when discussing perhaps a lack of Unit and Integration testing before a build, a late arriving change in the release process, etc.

Non-Progressive Bug:

I refer to a Non-Progressive Bug as those that most likely should have been caught in Unit testing and block additional testing. Yes they are a bug, but they aren’t a bug in the type that provides additional information to the tester on the actual functionality being delivered.

An example would be:

  • Development is working on a Create User module.
  • They build & deploy the code for you to test.
  • When you receive the build and open the Create User module, the Create button is not functional – either disabled or generates an error.

This grinds additional testing to a halt and this bug does not need any special type of skill in testing to come across.  It is a bug that must be logged and fixed to move forward, but doesn’t move the process forward to getting this module ready for release and provide the stakeholder with additional information as to its readiness.

Progressive Bug:

A progressive bug is one where you are able to dig your teeth into the code and really explore the boundaries and the bug detected provides you important information to the readiness, stability, etc. of the code under test. It also provides you perhaps a new pathway to go in your round of testing that you may have overlooked otherwise. It continues to allow you to provide stakeholders relevant data to make the informed decision on state of the feature, the risk associated and additional steps needed to get it to a state where you all feel comfortable releasing it to the public.

An example would be:

  • Development is working on a Create User module.
  • They build & deploy the code for you to test.
  • You begin testing the new Create User module and in testing decide to test it for XSS (Cross Site Scripting) vulnerabilities.
  • Your test uncovers that the module does in fact have vulnerabilities in the code.

This is critical information to have and especially in this day and age of so many security exploits occurring across the globe. This is data you can take to the stakeholders and they then have critical information to make the decision on what to do next. This could spark you to try additional security vulnerabilities and/or allow you to move on to other areas of the module to do more testing to gain more insight/information into the feature under test.


In conclusion, both of these types of bugs need to be resolved. The difference is Non-Progressive bugs need to be fixed in order for the tester to do the actual testing and begin finding Progressive Bugs that will allow them to provide relevant and accurate information to the stakeholders which in turn allows them to make better formed decisions on direction, readiness for release, etc.


About Alex Bantz

Director of Quality Engineering at Salesforce in Indianapolis, Indiana. The views expressed here are my own and not those of Salesforce. I am a proud father of 3 wonderful boys. I have been involved in the field of software testing 15 years as both an individual contributor and in managerial/leadership roles. I enjoy not only learning new techniques but also assisting others in their growth and development and am a vocal supporter of the importance of software testing. View all posts by Alex Bantz

2 responses to “Progressive vs. Non-Progressive Bugs

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