Friday, December 2, 2011

How do you know when it's time to ship?

At some point, every piece of software has to "go out the door", into the hands of unsuspecting eager customers.

The question is, how do you know when that time has come?

When all the bugs are gone!

Yeah, sure, and if that was the case there wouldn't be any new software, ever, because the bugs are never all gone.

Fortunately, there are three simple criteria to be met before a software product is ready to ship:

1. All the new bugs are going into the "Future Fix" category.

Once upon a time, you were determined to fix each and every flaw that turned up, no matter how minor.

Now, it's not just a matter of "When will this bug get fixed?" (Not Now) but "Will this bug get fixed?"... that's when a Future Fix bug gets flagged with "Wait For Reproducible" which is the same as "No, Never Mind".

2. You're writing more FAQs than fixes.

Sometimes it's easier to cover an electrical outlet than to document why it's not a good idea to stick a fork into it... until you consider the fact that docs don't need to be tested but if you change the code you have to go back and run all . . . those . . . endless . . . regression tests again.

Plus, it's really easy to say "It's not a bug, it's a FAQ!" with a straight face, a lot easier than "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" even though the two statements are not that different.

Here's the third and final "Ready To Ship" criteria:

3. You just wrote the same FAQ a second time.

...and it's not as well-written as the first one!

That's when you know, it's time to ship.

No comments: