When a Bug is not a Bug


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"Ceci n'est pas une pipe" - Rene Magritte

“What does a delivery team deliver? They deliver experiences that provide value. The degree to which that value is perceived and acted upon is a very real indicator of quality.“ - Jeff Nyman (personal communication with the author)


One of the things I admire about the DevOps movement is the emphasis on breaking down artificial walls between different disciplines in tech. While there are many misinterpretations and hold-outs, perhaps the most interesting to me is the doublespeak about software defects aka bugs.

Consider the common refrain that something "is not a bug, it's an undocumented feature", or the insistence that a client's inability to use a feature due to a infrastructural hiccup is not a bug. Somehow.

Further into the gray area, consider when there's a mismatch between what a customer believes a system does and the specification that a product team built against. Semantic aerobatics and finger pointing aside. we must consider that the product we deliver is much larger than just code or the specific artifacts that are shipped.

I'd argue that anytime expectations aren't met by the people paying your bills, you've got a bug - and it needs to be dealt with. Aligning around this conclusion changes the way your entire organization operates together.

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