Software Paper Cuts

Matthew Bischoff (via Michael Tsai):

The more insidious thing about these bugs is that they’re rarely reported by users or caught by automated testing tools because they’re too small to complain about or too obscure to write tests for. Great QA testers can find and file these types of bugs, but they usually flounder at the end of a long backlog of new features. This means that if you’re an engineer on a piece of software, you’re the person who’s best able to notice and fix these bugs. Yes, you might have to convince your boss or your product manager to set aside some time every so often to do so, but I promise your users will be grateful, and your product will improve in meaningful ways if you do.

I promise that users notice these bugs all the time and, especially in products that do not have a more technically literate audience, they become sources of confusion and dissatisfaction. They make software feel brittle. Product managers, please encourage your developers to hunt down and resolve these bugs every single day. Chip away at the list until nothing remains, and you will end up with software that feels like users can rely on it.