Sunday, April 05, 2015

Working as Designed, Really?

I recently saw a Facebook post from a family member.  At first I thought it was a really good April Fools joke, but honestly I am not sure.  The post was showing off a new tattoo.  I did a double take. Is that word spelled correctly? After several sanity checks or explorative tests I realized for sure that there was a typo on a tattoo.  This is a permanent defect or at a minimum will take an extremely complex and perhaps painful solution.

I think the same thing happens in software.  The unfortunately side of this happening in software is we simply mark the defect as "working as designed" or "will not fix".  What if the defect does permanent damage to the customer?  Certainly it will be expensive to redesign the system, but perhaps that is the right thing to do.  Marking something as "working as designed" with out carefully consider the potential for a design flaw in my opinion is a mistake.

Often the resolution working as designed puts a tester in an awkward position.  The tester either advocates for the right action to take place or has to carefully craft an excuse to deliver to the customer.  I have experienced situations where the proper resolution is a complete system redesign and could take a very long time to resolve.

I think the worst part for me is that sometimes someone will set a resolution to "working as designed" when they know deep down it is simply an excuse, stating  "I will let someone else sort this one out".  The burden typically falls upon the tester to put on their advocate cape on and begin the battle for the proper resolution.

In the case of the tattoo spelling error, I do not have the guts to report that to the tattoo owner.  I guess I also fell into the trap of "working as designed" and not advocating for the proper solution.

Let's build software right!  We should spend some time evaluating the defects in our system that were marked as "working as designed" or "will not fix".  We might just find a misspelled tattoo.

Happy Testing!

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