Sunday, January 06, 2013

Vanishing Defects

I know I watch to much television, but the Allstate commercial during the Seahawk versus Redskin game gave me an idea.  Allstate has a concept called the vanishing deductible for safe drivers.  Can we use a similar idea with defects?

I would like to propose that if a defect is more than 120 days old without a resolution, we should make it vanish, Vanishing Defects.

Development teams typically are investing the majority of their energy building new features.  From my 12 years of experience there is little time dedicated to fixing the defects.  The problem is compounded deeper by a defect ranking system.  If severity of defects is marked annoyance, cosmetic or non-essential, defects become destined for the eternal defect pile.  Teams triage defects and set a priority.  If defect priority is marked normal or perhaps some day, then those defects are also destined for the eternal defect pile.  The vanishing defect model would automatically reduce the size of the defect pile.

When customer support inquires about a defect that is older than 120 days, the response would be simple.  Your defect vanished!

Some software development teams should be on the A&E TV show, Hoarders.  I have seen backlogs with defects greater than 2 years old.  Should defects be hoarded?  With the vanishing defect policy intervention would not be required.

Ok!  I will make a compromise. Instead of vanishing defects perhaps the defects should be archived after 120 days.  

I think a better model to consider would be Defect Regeneration.  This would be similar to a gecko growing a new tail.  All defects must be fixed within 120 days.   Some geckos regenerate a tail in 2 days to 2 months, so 120 days should be plenty of time.

That concept will probably not fly either, so we are destined to see the giant landfill of defects forever!

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