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Zero Bugs vs Scale ( was Re: [XP] Back of the Door Sticky Note Issue Tracking.)

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  • John Carter
    ... One push back I always get is You can t expect zero bugs on the scale of software we re doing (200+ man years multi-threaded embedded C). Of course you
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 13 1:24 PM
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      On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 3:19 AM, <steveropa@...> wrote:

      > I had the same experience, and it actually got me laid off. Our team was
      > consistently producing zero bugs, or if something did escape, it was so
      > small and taken care of so quickly that it didn’t register in some system.
      >

      One push back I always get is "You can't expect zero bugs on the scale of
      software we're doing (200+ man years multi-threaded embedded C). Of course
      you don't get (many) defects on small codebases... but our defect injection
      / discovery / fix rates are quite inline with industry standards text books
      on large scale software."

      Anybody have any observations on Zero Defects vs Scale?


      --
      John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
      Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
      PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
      New Zealand

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    • George Dinwiddie
      John, ... I think this is another case of expecting to get bugs and then getting them. ... Part of the issue with scaling, is the implicit expectation to do
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 13 1:37 PM
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        John,

        On 3/13/13 4:24 PM, John Carter wrote:
        > On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 3:19 AM, <steveropa@...> wrote:
        >
        >> I had the same experience, and it actually got me laid off. Our team was
        >> consistently producing zero bugs, or if something did escape, it was so
        >> small and taken care of so quickly that it didn’t register in some system.
        >>
        >
        > One push back I always get is "You can't expect zero bugs on the scale of
        > software we're doing (200+ man years multi-threaded embedded C). Of course
        > you don't get (many) defects on small codebases... but our defect injection
        > / discovery / fix rates are quite inline with industry standards text books
        > on large scale software."

        I think this is another case of expecting to get bugs and then getting them.

        > Anybody have any observations on Zero Defects vs Scale?

        Part of the issue with scaling, is the implicit expectation to do more
        work without scaling the attention to detail to the same amount. If you
        pay less attention to the details, you'll get more bugs, as well as more
        of other problems.

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Charlie Poole
        Hi John, I can t prove it but I feel intuitively (and my experience matches the feeling) that bug injection is related more closely to rate of code change
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 13 2:48 PM
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          Hi John,

          I can't prove it but I feel intuitively (and my experience matches the
          feeling) that bug "injection" is related more closely to rate of code
          change rather than size of codebase by itself.

          Nevertheless, here are a few simple experiential observations...

          ... if you don't change the code at all, no new bugs are created (although
          some might be discovered)
          ... if you change the code more rapidly, while not increasing your
          attention to testing, bugs will increase generally
          ... if you change the code more rapidly, without releasing more frequently,
          bugs found after release will increase

          With regard to the comment you have received about "industry standards" my
          own answer is usually to ask if the folks are satisfied with being merely
          "standard." I react similarly when the phrase "state of the art" is used.

          YMMV, of course.

          Charlie



          On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 1:24 PM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:

          > **
          >
          >
          > On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 3:19 AM, <steveropa@...> wrote:
          >
          > > I had the same experience, and it actually got me laid off. Our team was
          > > consistently producing zero bugs, or if something did escape, it was so
          > > small and taken care of so quickly that it didn�t register in some
          > system.
          > >
          >
          > One push back I always get is "You can't expect zero bugs on the scale of
          > software we're doing (200+ man years multi-threaded embedded C). Of course
          > you don't get (many) defects on small codebases... but our defect injection
          > / discovery / fix rates are quite inline with industry standards text books
          > on large scale software."
          >
          > Anybody have any observations on Zero Defects vs Scale?
          >
          > --
          > John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
          > Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
          > PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
          > New Zealand
          >
          > --
          >
          > ------------------------------
          > This email, including any attachments, is only for the intended recipient.
          > It is subject to copyright, is confidential and may be the subject of
          > legal
          > or other privilege, none of which is waived or lost by reason of this
          > transmission.
          > If you are not an intended recipient, you may not use, disseminate,
          > distribute or reproduce such email, any attachments, or any part thereof.
          > If you have received a message in error, please notify the sender
          > immediately and erase all copies of the message and any attachments.
          > Unfortunately, we cannot warrant that the email has not been altered or
          > corrupted during transmission nor can we guarantee that any email or any
          > attachments are free from computer viruses or other conditions which may
          > damage or interfere with recipient data, hardware or software. The
          > recipient relies upon its own procedures and assumes all risk of use and
          > of
          > opening any attachments.
          > ------------------------------
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ron Jeffries
          Hi John, ... Do you work one day at a time? Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Sometimes you just have to stop holding on with both hands, both feet, and your
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 13 3:42 PM
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            Hi John,

            On Mar 13, 2013, at 4:24 PM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:

            > Anybody have any observations on Zero Defects vs Scale?


            Do you work one day at a time?

            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            Sometimes you just have to stop holding on with both hands, both feet, and your tail, to get someplace better.
            Of course you might plummet to the earth and die, but probably not: you were made for this.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • JeffGrigg
            ... It turns out that our industry has ridiculously low standards. Embarrassingly low standards. Well of course you will never achieve /absolutely zero/
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 16 2:56 PM
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              --- John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:
              > One push back I always get is "You can't expect zero bugs
              > on the scale of software we're doing (200+ man years multi-
              > threaded embedded C). Of course you don't get (many) defects
              > on small codebases... but our defect injection / discovery /
              > fix rates are quite inline with industry standards text books
              > on large scale software."
              >
              > Anybody have any observations on Zero Defects vs Scale?

              It turns out that our industry has ridiculously low standards. Embarrassingly low standards.

              Well of course you will never achieve /absolutely zero/ defects. But you get the benefits from using processes that can achieve a /vanishingly small/ defect rate, and honestly trying to hit zero most of the time. And when mistakes happen, you fix them and move on.

              It turns out that there really is no need to maintain a database full of known defects that we are "managing" -- meaning that we are ignoring them, for the most part.

              Do you want the software?

              Do you want it to work?
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