Monday, June 30, 2008

What do to with found bugs...

As a customer I tend hang out in the VersionOne google-group user forums. Sometimes I find myself providing agile coaching feedback unrelated to the tool. Today was one of those days.

The discussion was surrounding the tool and what to do when a tester finds a bug.

Option 1: reopen the old story and tasks
Option 2: enter a new story or task to fix the bug.

I pushed the discussion towards the process issues and impact.

My summary point -
If the customer/product owner can live with the bug and it is not critical to release, then option 2 might be acceptable to save time and focus on prioritized business value.
But if delivery can't be reached without the bug being fixed, and especially if the bug was injected while working on that story... THEN THE STORY ISN'T DONE.

It's painful to re-open a story and go back to something the team believes is done and wants credit for. But this is our job. The quality criteria is deliverable and working.

If you buy a burger and it has a fly in it... you expect it to be fixed or replaced. You don't go back to the counter and get charged for a new one. Just like the restaurant doesn't get to charge again, neither do you. Your team's velocity is no different than money in a restaurant.


  1. Well, your burger analogy just misses the point of the matter: do we interupt the personel just preparing a burger for another client, or can we wait until those burgers have been delivered until we make our claim.

  2. Well... my metaphor focused on the budget of spending cash. I was saying that paying for the burger the first time and not getting charged again is the same as getting velocity point credit for a story. You shouldn't get velocity points for fixing bugs. It was part of the original "charge".

    (There's an old joke in Dilbert cartoons about getting paid to fix bugs... so Wally creates bugs that are easy to fix to make more money.)

    If you look at it through the standpoint of who is working what, and when. Then you are right, the metaphor does not work as well.

    I would hope that the staff would finish the other burger first, but I'm also guessing that other customer won't want a burger when another customer is complaining about a fly in theirs. The second customer will expect to see the restaurant jump with concern to resolve the problem, otherwise they will question the quality of all food in the restaurant and lose both customers.