I struggled in how to phrase my question, so let me give an example in hopes of making more clear what I am after:
I currently work on a dev team responsible for maintaining and adding features to a web application. We have a development server and we use source control (TFS). Each day everyone checks in their code and when the code (running on the dev server) passes our QA/QC program, it goes to production.
Recently, however, we had a bug in production which required an immediate production fix. The problem was that several of us developers had code checked in that was not ready for production so we had to either quickly complete and QA the code, or roll back everything, undo pending changes, etc. In other words, it was a mess.
This made me wonder: Is there an established design pattern that prevents this type of scenario. It seems like there must be some "textbook" answer to this, but I am unsure what that would be. Perhaps a development branch of the code and a "release-ready" or production branch of the code?