My first job out of college was teaching software applications like MS Access, FoxPro, and Act!. Back then, in the late 90's, demand for these types of classes was much higher than it is today. This, I believe, is because today's software users are more sophisticated. Most have already been exposed to some flavor of word processing, spreadsheet, or email applications. Many can even teach themselves software or look online for answers.

After accepting the above, it's not too great a leap to also accept that modern software users are aware that software is not perfect. They have experienced application hangs and strange system errors and many users learn to avoid these bugs or recover via a reboot or similar.

If the above is true, why can't all bug lists be public? The culture of my dev team prefers to keep the bug list hidden because they believe users will have trust issues if we admit to known production bugs. I disagree. In fact, if properly facilitated, I think a public bug list can actually build user trust. Users are smart enough to see the value in having their software earlier, even at the expense of known bugs.

What do you think?

Contrary to my previous post, about devs taking more blame for production bugs, devs also take most of the credit when users like an application. I’ll bet testers rarely get praise from end users.

The reason is simple. Users don’t read the fixed bug list. Users have no idea how crappy the app was before the testers started working their magic. Have you ever heard a user say, “Wow, these testers really worked hard and found a lot of bugs!”. Users don’t have this information. For all they know, testers didn’t do a damn thing. The Devs could have written rock solid code and tested it themselves…who knows?

I’ve had the luxury of working on an AUT that hasn’t gone live for 3 years. Now that we’re live, the old familiar tester stress, guilt, and anger is back.

When the first major production bug was discovered I wanted to throw up. I felt horrible. Several people had to work around the clock to clean up corrupt data and patch the problem. I wanted to personally apologize, to each person on my team and hundreds of users, for not catching the bug in testing…and I did apologize to a couple individuals and offer my help. Apologizes in these cases don’t help at all, other than for personal guilt and accountability.

During my selfish guilt, I opened my eyes and realized my fellow devs felt just as accountable as I did (if not more so), and never attempted to pass blame to me. I started asking myself who is really more at fault here; the tester who didn’t test the scenario or the developer who didn’t code to handle it?

I think the tester is 75% responsible for the bug and the developer, 25%. However, the dev probably gets the brunt of the blame because they are a more prominent part of the development team. I would guess more end users have heard of people called software developers than have heard of people called software testers.

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