After failing in production for a third time, the team lead’s passive aggressive tendencies became apparent in his bug report title.  Can you blame him?

It all depends on context, of course.  But if three attempts to get something working in production still fail…there may be a larger problem somewhere. 

That got me thinking.  Maybe we should add passive aggressive suffixes for all our  “escapes” (bugs not caught in test).  It would serve to embarrass and remind ourselves that we can do better.

  • “…fail I” would not be so bad.
  • “…fail II” would be embarrassing.
  • “…fail III” should make us ask for help testing and coding.
  • “…fail IV” should make us ask to be transferred to a more suitable project.
  • by “…fail V” we should be taking our users out to lunch.
  • “…fail VI” I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist, no time like the present.


  1. Simon Morley said...


    This looks like a great learning opportunity. I love these - as they usually reveal more than you (team/org) expect. At my shop I'm often called in to investigate any potentially serious escapes - usually pre-fixed (sometimes implied) with "… why didn't 'testing' catch these…"

    More often than not, it's a series of areas to improve - which also is an opportunity to demonstrate to stakeholders/execs that the whole development process, the people involved, the project managers and other stakeholders behave as one large system - this is also partly why I get involved (as people know it's not just about testing, but they don't necessarily know where or how to start).

    My favourite model/heuristic for such situations is the FICL model. F: Framing, I: Information gathering, C: Coming to consensus & L: Learnings. (Based on the work of Russo & Schoemaker).

    I wrote about some elements of this a while ago:

    Your post is a reminder that there is much work to be done when thinking about 'escapes' - as you refer to, the context can be quite revealing, and that's a great learning for all involved!

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