Saturday, January 29, 2011

Familiar Excuse: It works as designed.

You get a long awaited product release and dive right in to find the feature you were most interested in only to find utter disappointment. The feature is there but it doesn't quite work as it should. It's either entirely useless or requires a workaround right from the get go which is absurd.

You walk down the aisle to talk to the developer to see what's going on but you find a defensive developer that gives you the familiar (and illogical) "it works as designed" excuse. Well, the design had a BUG that no one caught! The developer probably realizes (you hope) that there is a genuine issue but instead of owning up to it, he/she directs you to the product manager responsible for the feature. Well, the PM gives you a more tactful answer by telling you that what you're asking for should be filed as an enhancement that YOU should file and they will work on including it in some future release (not patch) depending on the level of effort and timing. So, a new feature sits there useless till some future release for it to actually be useful and work. Who signed off on that?!

There are such things as design bugs and should be addressed with the same sense of urgency as coding errors, asap. The ownership falls with product management and engineering both to make sure function/features make sense and actually work. If in doubt, ask your customers. I'd rather a feature be delayed and work right then be released and require an immediate workaround.