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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Corporate derailing for dummies

I now have a few examples of corporate-flavored versions of derailing for dummies. These are a few things I observed over time and I'm sure there are many more.

Report a bug in some project which is not your own. Do you get one of these responses?

This doesn't work when the bug is massive, and it doesn't scale. It's also a classic example of passing the buck and not owning the problem.

That third one about sending in a patch is commonly heard in the free and open source software community. The difference there is that there is no shared context between the reporter and the developer(s), and so there is no reason for the devs to work on it.

In a company, you're theoretically all in the same boat. That which sinks you will eventually sink everyone else. That alone should elevate the discussion above the point of simple hand-waving dismissals, but for some reason, many times it does not.

I know the stories about being overworked and having no time to get to things. I've worked on a couple of projects where the bug backlog was already past the point of no return when I showed up. Things would sit for years and would then be closed. Our most frequent reason for closing a bug during those "scrubs" was "so and so no longer works here".

Once you're at that point, you have lost. You might as well give up. Your project is just another spiral of failure, or to use my term from a few months ago, it's a bozo loop.

Committing bug bankruptcy might be the only way out. If you actually have any users left, they'll just open new bugs. Or hey, if you ignore them long enough, they'll stop being users and might stop annoying you. Either way, your problem is "solved"!

It's a pity about the whole "meaningful work" thing, though, huh?