Dec 13, 2017 04:10

Bug in production - is it important?

By Sigurdur Birgisson

Another experience from my Atlassian journey is about bugs. As a test and quality professional, there are always strong feelings about this one. Bugs are bad and should be disintegrated, fixed, prevented and anything in between, right?

Bug in production - is it important?

So you found a bug in production? Are you going to fix it?

Unless it was found as a result of your newly deployed version crashed and burned and the alarms hit you on the head from those dashboards, the default answer should almost certainly be NO.

How do I know if we should?

There are a bunch of questions to ask yourself before going on fixing spree. They could include:

  • How many users are affected?
  • How many of them complain about it?
  • What are the flows affected? Do our users go through them regularly?
  • What is the impact on affected users or my organization?
  • Are there any workarounds?
  • Is it a regression shipped in a recent version?
  • and more...

How urgent is a fix?

With the answers above you can quite confidently answer about the urgency. And if you have a low urgency bug in production, it is actually a valid question if it really needs to be fixed at all. If the bug was in production for a while, and the affected flows have hit users, and still no one complained, then it is usually not a problem at all.

James Bach defines bug: "Anything that threatens the value of the product. Something that bugs someone whose opinion matters." By definition, if it doesn't bug your users (people that matter), then its probably not that important.

How should you prioritize"low-priority bugs"?

I actually found this link where its described how Atlassian uses "User Impact Score" for this type of prioritization. User impact score is calculated based on a collection of data points from users, and will bubble up bugs if they are important enough to fix.

Obviously, these things should be adapted to your context. Potential impact question above is a good start to realize importance.

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