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Rework

Software Has Bugs

Wed Aug 09 2023
software developmentbugscustomer expectationsbuilding good softwareprioritizing bugssuccessful software

Description

This episode discusses the nature of bugs in software development and the importance of accepting their existence. It explores strategies for setting expectations with customers and prioritizing bug fixes. The episode also emphasizes the need to build good software by making trade-offs and focusing on the process. Additionally, it highlights the importance of prioritizing bugs and building successful software by addressing flaws in the product and improving customer support.

Insights

Bugs are a natural side effect of complex software

Bugs should not be seen as a representation of human failings, but rather as a natural side effect of complex software.

Prioritize fixing serious bugs

It is crucial to prioritize fixing serious bugs that cause data loss or prevent access to important data.

Setting expectations with customers can be challenging

Setting expectations with customers can be difficult, as they often want bugs fixed immediately. Founders doing customer support can struggle to differentiate between customer enthusiasm and urgent bug fixes.

Building good solid software requires making trade-offs

Building good solid software requires making trade-offs. Automated testing and high-quality internal properties are important in building good software.

Guilt over bugs should be avoided

Guilt over bugs should be avoided as long as you're putting in your best effort.

Creating bug-free software is not sufficient for a successful business

Creating bug-free software is not sufficient for a successful business; creating software that people want is more important.

Customer support and accessibility are bugs in the company itself

Customer support and accessibility are bugs in the company itself that need to be fixed.

Companies should have faith in their customers

Companies should have faith in their customers and take their issues seriously.

Chapters

  1. Bugs in Software Development
  2. Setting Expectations with Customers
  3. Building Good Software
  4. Prioritizing Bugs and Building Successful Software
Summary
Transcript

Bugs in Software Development

00:00 - 07:10

  • Bugs in software development are normal and accepting this reality is important.
  • Bugs should not be seen as a representation of human failings, but rather as a natural side effect of complex software.
  • Most software, even with bugs, continues to be used because its value outweighs the annoyance caused by the bugs.
  • Different users may experience different bugs based on how they use the software.
  • It is crucial to prioritize fixing serious bugs that cause data loss or prevent access to important data.
  • Complicated software will always have open bugs, some of which may never be fixed.
  • There are different types of bugs with varying levels of impact, from minor annoyances to material losses.
  • Setting expectations with customers about bug fixes can be challenging.

Setting Expectations with Customers

06:41 - 13:29

  • Setting expectations with customers can be difficult, as they often want bugs fixed immediately.
  • Founders doing customer support can struggle to differentiate between customer enthusiasm and urgent bug fixes.
  • Having dedicated customer service professionals can act as a filter for minor bugs and escalate serious ones.
  • Implementing a triage process with code yellow and code red helps prioritize bug fixes.
  • The concept of code red and code yellow is inspired by Toyota's assembly line approach to quality assurance.
  • Anyone should be able to stop the assembly line if they notice critical issues that affect the majority of customers.
  • In software development, there is sometimes hesitation to address bugs immediately due to the ability to fix them later.
  • Balancing guilt over bugs with a commitment to building good, solid products is important.

Building Good Software

13:07 - 20:06

  • Building perfect software is not feasible, as it takes too long and never gets shipped.
  • Building good solid software requires making trade-offs.
  • Automated testing and high-quality internal properties are important in building good software.
  • Focusing on the process of building software, not just the outcome, helps improve quality.
  • Guilt over bugs should be avoided as long as you're putting in your best effort.
  • At 37 signals, bug fixing is done by the team who worked on the feature initially.
  • During cooldown periods, the team responsible for a feature cleans up issues found by customers.
  • The on-call rotation handles minor bug fixes and urgent issues.
  • Bugs that are not urgent or critical may be put in a backlog or forget drawer.
  • Occasionally, spring cleaning or dedicated cycles are used to fix bugs from the forget drawer.

Prioritizing Bugs and Building Successful Software

19:45 - 26:25

  • Bugs should be treated as any other thing that needs to be prioritized and traded off against other value.
  • Flaws in the product or inefficient approaches may be more important than fixing broken things.
  • Creating bug-free software is not sufficient for a successful business; creating software that people want is more important.
  • Customer support and accessibility are bugs in the company itself that need to be fixed.
  • Companies should have faith in their customers and take their issues seriously.
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