Thursday, October 1, 2009

Put your Bugs where your Mouth is

Last month, Decade Software released EnvisionConnect 4.0—and what a proud day it was.

The new version is the previous version on steroids, and were constantly making strides to improve performance and make the product easier before version 4.1—always focusing on making the application faster for users to get in and out and still feel good about having got the job done.

My Development Team prides itself in maintaining a zero defect average. Every 30 days—during Sprint planning—we commit to closing every open defect in addition to delivering any new features we committed to providing.

Speaking to software shops across the nation, I have not found one who has been able to come anywhere near our zero defect average. (If you know of any, please let me know. I would love to glorify them in this blog!)

I recapped all of the above so that you understand my dismay at hearing someone say this week…

“One of our clients says he doesn’t like the Page Layout Editor”—Yes, we do allow users to redesign forms and pages—”because the user says the tool is buggy.”

Immediately, I searched the defect tracking system and consulted my Quality Assurance team. I wanted to find out how many bugs constituted “buggy” and why we had not eradicated those bugs.

I found no bugs related to the feature in question, aside from a couple we had fixed but not yet released.

Then I knew our problems lay somewhere else.

Is the problem related to the definition: What is a defect?

Not likely. At Decade Software, We have the most lax description in the industry: If the client is “bugged” by something, that’s logged as a defect. Ultimately, we may fix it as a defect in code, or by adding a new feature, or by changing a design, or by providing training for the user—but no defect is ever ignored with the words…

“…that’s just the way it is.”

So, if the code is not the problem, and the definition is not the problem, then there’s only one thing it can be. Someone found a defect and did not report it.

Even the best software teams cannot fix bugs no one has found. It is the responsibility of user—internally and externally—to report any problem found.

Software shops can’t make you happy, unless they know what is making you sad.

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