What my mother taught me about bugzilla..

pic unrelated - my room was smaller ;)

pic unrelated - my room was smaller

When I was young I had a the smallest bedroom in the house. As the only boy, I got the box room at the front while my sisters shared the larger double room next door. With a single bed, a chest of drawers and a desk all that was left was just a slim patch of carpet down the middle to walk. Mostly this was fine, it filled up with clothes until they were dumped in the laundry or the desk filled with homework until it was (occasionally) handed in.

The problem was that as a committed hardware hacker I hoarded electronics, mechanical parts, motors, cables and general junk. The cupboard was full, I had drawers full of gears and the carpet was covered with glue and solder burns. When my mother had finally had enough she would get me to make three piles – a “yes” pile of things I needed for projects I was currently working on, a “no” pile for junk I didn’t need any more, and a “maybe” pile for stuff that was useful, just not right now. She would then proceed to throw away the “no” and “maybe” piles.

In mobile, we have a lot of different combinations of phones and carriers. Inevitably we can’t test them all and we end up with many, many defects reported by teams around the world – font size slightly too large on Nokia 3110 in India, etc. In the past, we would mostly acknowledge that they were valid but as they did not materially affect the user experience they would go into the LATER bucket. They’d linger in the bug queues, nagging at your mind and generating noise which constantly threatens to hide more serious problems.

Honestly though, if it’s not important enough for a hotfix (i.e. the product is broken for a significant number of users) and it’s not important enough to make it into the next sprint (i.e. impacts the experience of a large number of users or a key strategic area/device) then it’s probably never going to get fixed.

So then, bugzilla clutter getting on your nerves? Make three piles – and reject NO and MAYBE.

Thanks Mum.


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