In a world of self-driving cars, AI robots, and ever-evolving automation, humans deserve some credit.

When it comes to software, bugs are always a concern. A bug in the system can take an entire company down if it goes unnoticed. But who hunts for bugs?

People do. For public-facing companies, it’s important to take defects seriously – it could be the smartest investment you make. As long as people are building software, there will be bugs.

Check out some of the creative ways companies combat bugs with bright minds and serious perks.

1. Establish a bug bounty

Rewarding folks for finding software problems is a smart investment. Why hire a dedicated team when you can invest in the people building and testing the code? According to a study from the University of California Berkeley, – the “Bug Bounty” model is a major winner.

Making money searching for bugs, you say?

Google’s Vulnerability Reward Program pays on a sliding scale, ranging from $100 to $20K. Ask just about anyone, anywhere, and you’ll likely find they’d be happy to do a little legwork to find a $20K bug.

Google judges vulnerabilities and exploits on factors such as difficulty and impact.

“Google’s average payout is $1,000, but the chance of obtaining a much higher reward appears to provide an incentive for more people to participate in its program,” the researchers wrote. Makes total sense to us; people like hunting for things and winning cash for it.

2. Empower your staff

Having the public find vulnerabilities is one thing – you can also reward internal staff for doing the same. Skyscanner has a rewards program called “Skytrek,” which rewards staff for reporting bugs.

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“Everyone is encouraged to use our products all the time. If they’re an employee, they’ll see a button on our website that says ‘report feedback.’ It takes them to our JIRA Service Desk customer portal where they can submit the bug,” says Michael Hall, Business Tools Team Lead at Skyscanner. Each week, the triage team picks their Bug of The Week based on how well they are documented.

3. Make bug reporting easy

Finding and getting frustrated by bugs is easy. The challenge is getting them to the right people with all the necessary information. What you don’t want is a black hole: where one-off emails, desk drive-by’s and misfiled tickets disappear.

And even worse than that? A reported bug that can’t be reproduced.

Developers need details to fix problems. Many folks are discouraged by the back-and-forth emails they sign up for after reporting an issue. While reporting a bug is awesome, a lot of people don’t have the time to deal with answering a million questions to help the developers.

That’s why directing people to a support@yourcompany.com email address won’t work.

Teams want a simple service desk solution

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40% of the time, the original email doesn’t contain the right information (according to Atlassian Research Labs). And 70% of those using email support say “it’s a constant problem” to go back and forth with employees about getting the right information.

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Capturing information at the first step is crucial.

Skyscanner made bug reporting easy for their employees with JIRA Service Desk’s customer portal. Because everything is asked upfront, developers don’t have to ask follow-up questions. The never-ending chain of emails stops there.

Because humanity in software is important

Human-powered debugging can prevent serious vulnerabilities and outages. Solving problems together can even help your team cultivate a collaborative culture.

These simple ideas enable a culture of feedback, better communication, better information to developers, and a better understanding of issue impact.

Skyscanner is a travel search company ahead of the curve in lots of ways – they’re scaling agile, seeing fewer critters in their code, and helping people book smarter travel. Check out the story in their latest webinar.

In 30 minutes, you’ll learn how Skyscanner:

  • Triages tickets in a tribal organization.
  • Removes barriers between squads for collaboration and visibility.
  • Surfaces and solves problems with JIRA + JIRA Service Desk.
  • Rewards employees for reporting bugs with shirts, gift cards, and vacation time.
  • Scaled internal support with JIRA Service Desk and have expanded more service desks across other departments.

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