3

Where I work we occasionally come across really challenging defects, which require a great deal of technical expertise, skill and patience to resolve. Getting our most talented engineers to work on these issues (especially on legacy code) can be quite challenging.

My question to the community is this: Have you successfully tried any techniques which would make such challenge support activities attractive/fun? If so, could you share what you have done?

Of course we could just pick the most talented engineers and instruct them to work on these issues, but forcing them to do this type of work on an ongoing basis can lead to dis-enfranchisement, which is not something we want.

  • There's a technique proven to be quite effective when it comes making ppl participate in tasks otherwise they would not do so cheerfully. Gamification. Take S.O as an example. Why people spend time and efforts on answering questions for free? Or even designing or typing down code for illustration? What do you think it makes us try? – Laiv Jan 20 '20 at 7:39
  • 3
    I find that most boring and frustrating thing when fixing bugs, is trying to replicate them locally, so it can be debugged. Investing in architecture, infrastructure, logging, reporting and monitoring, so that bugs can easily be replicated by developers might make fixing them feel less frustrating. – Euphoric Jan 20 '20 at 10:54
  • @Laiv I agree gamification seems like an obvious way to go, but how would you gamify the resolution of exceptionally difficult bugs? Especially those which are difficult to replicate (as Euphoric rightly points out) – hhafez Jan 20 '20 at 22:47
  • I'm not an expert on gamification, but I would look for the way to appeal the competitive instinct we all have. You have to find something to give in exchange for the tedious work. A positive reinforcement. It must seem challenging too. Some companies spend days looking for bugs, exploiting the system, etc. They try turning tedious and repetitive tasks into a weekly or monthly event. Every team/person is different so you will have to spend time on finding out what makes your team stay in that mod. And of course, you have to find a prize to give. A way to start is asking to them. – Laiv Jan 21 '20 at 7:28
11

Show me someone who cares. Fixing bugs from an unfeeling checklist gets to be a drag. If the fix will put a smile on someone’s face, let me see it.

Don’t make me work alone. Every bug fix is a chance to learn something and it is great fun to share something you learned with someone else.

Let me do more than just fix bugs. Sometimes bugs show you a better design just waiting to be uncovered. Don’t sell your team short. Let them do a little exploring.

  • Yes, yes, and yes. – cbojar Jan 20 '20 at 5:06
  • We're already doing 3, but 1 and 2 are definitely something we can incorporate. The end user/customer is a bit far removed from the development team but there are plenty of internal stakeholders when a fix is found for these type of issues. – hhafez Jan 20 '20 at 22:48
1

Additionally, laud bug fixing.

It must be held in esteem by the business, and treated equivalently (if not superior) to delivering a feature. Otherwise why would I fix something when no one cares and also risk being rebuked for wasting time/resources/not delivering business value.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.