Today I was part of a really long discussion within Mettl, where we discussed – How important is Bug Fixing. Basically the technical team was trying to convince the business to get some time allocated for bug fixing in a continuous manner.
The business team wanted to find out why should they invest time in Bug Fixing, instead of adding a new feature that a customer may be willing to pay for.
The engineers on the other hand had no doubt about the importance of Bug Fixing. For them it was obvious – If there are bugs; they need to be fixed. PERIOD. That is what they aspire to do – delivering bug free software.
To settle the debate; we got some sales guys in the conversation and asked them if they value new features more than Stability. Their choice was unanimous – “New Features” they said. On being further asked How many customer losses do they know of which happened due to bugs in the system; their response was “Not many”. Though still not convinced about preferring quantity over quality, I started to see the reason why this was debatable.
We then got some product guys into the debate and asked them to pick between New Features and Bug Fixing. Their response again was “New Features” of course they said. Their rational was they would like to experiment with more features rather than fixing minor issues for features that did not fly previously. This also made sense.
While the discussion continued, the same question was asked in other ways. Questions like “How important is quality?”, “What happens when a customer finds a small problem?” caused the right effect and developers did manage to win themselves some time for bug fixing.