Bugs as good news

Often a new bug being reported is not regarded as a cause for celebration, especially late in a release! However, I strive to be dispassionate enough to genuinely welcome a new bug report if the bug is valid and thereby improves the accuracy of the bug database. Ignorance of bugs should not be confused with the absence of bugs. Only when the bug database is accurate, reflecting most of the actual defects and being largely free of spurious issues, is the correlation between the state of the database and the state of the product high enough to draw inferences about the quality of the product based on information in the database.

Comments:

I agree completely. However in reality customers and managers seldom share this point of view. Bugs are easily abused as a reason for denying raises and only attribute to career opportunities outside the current company (as in: internal promotions are denied). Solving bugs is not regarded as a good job, but as 'serves you right for making that error in the first place', even if the source of the bug can be traced to a period before you were even under contract.

So I would say: let's celebrate, but keep the party private.

Posted by Cor Takken on March 09, 2008 at 04:02 PM PDT #

Cor,

While the bug itself is usually bad news, knowing about the bug is not, another instance of the temptation to shoot the messenger.

Posted by Joe Darcy on March 10, 2008 at 04:15 PM PDT #

IMHO the argument "customers and managers seldom share this point of view" is the reason for all low quality software we have today.
It reminds me a story on the daily WTF about managers wanting to remove the build number from the about page: "We don't want people to know it took 467 builds to have it right!".
Open Source software and open bug DB have often a better quality due to this understanding.
So, let's promote agility and make managers and customers trust developers and good development practices.

Posted by Fred on March 29, 2008 at 09:51 PM PDT #

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