Bug management is like any management, it's half science and half art. I don't know how many people actually explored this field specifically and professionally, but I don't think many engineers do it exceptionally well, myself included. Some of my friends go back to school for MBA - Master of Business Administration. But I really hope that they form a new MBA degree: Master of Bug Administration. Here's what I would want them to study:

  1. Definition. What is a bug? To an individual engineer, a bug is simply a report of a defect or failure. It's what we used to write in a log book which is now moved to a database in a remote server. Sometimes it serves as a to-do list to keep track of the next item a queue. To a manager, bugs are (sometimes over-emphasized) measure of quality. How do we define a bug that fits the daily usage of both an individual engineer and a project manager?
  2. Prioritization. How do we prioritize bugs? And how to prioritize them effectively across different teams within the same product? How do we weigh the apples on one team vesus the orange on another team while we are shipping the product that is the sume of both teams? (Multiple that problem by N teams.)
  3. Usability. How do we design a bug system that expose the most critical information for each user of the bug (developer, tester, triage team, management) such that they can be productive in their function of the process?
  4. Scheduling. What is the right time to fix bugs and what is the right time to fix certain specific bugs? How do you measure dependency such that bugs that has external dependency can be fixed in a schedule that is satsifactory to the depended and depending party?
  5. Statistcis. How do we study the history of bugs? How do we design a bug system that facilitates data extraction and mining to assist quality evaluation and resource allocation?

There are probably many more other aspects that worth investing and investigating into a bug system than what I mentioned here. We have been way more advanced in bugs than that first bug, the little moth tapped to a piece of paper, in 1947, yet I still feel that we haven't mastered bugs. What we often tend to do is to use bug count as the only indicator of quality. Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko said, "Greed is good". I say "Bug is good", if you know how to use bugs.