January 9, 2016

They didn’t.

The [software developer tool] team clearly doesn’t use [that tool] themselves.” The [popular app] team clearly had no testers.”

As professional software developers, can we maybe stop and think before saying these things on Twitter and other public forums? You’re probably factually wrong. So the people who did that work are hearing:

All that time you spent dogfooding was a waste. You could have just used a stable tool to get your work done. You could have spent more weekends with your family instead.”

The months you spent testing this app are completely invisible. The bugs you did find, the design changes you championed, they don’t matter. What matters is this one bug you missed. Or this other bug that you found, but couldn’t be fixed until next release.”

Come on friends! We know how the sausage is made. We know that even the best teams overlook use cases and ship bugs. (And statistically few of us are lucky enough to work on the best teams.) We’re doing complex intellectual work in reality. The reality of buggy frameworks, incomplete specifications, tight schedules, changing business priorities, kids’ soccer practices, personal health issues. Sometimes it’s a wonder we ship usable software as often as we do.

Can we do better? Yes! Is making baseless public assertions about how others failed the way to help them do better? No.

Previous post
Effective Screenshots without Power Tools (This post was originally published to Medium in 2015. Some tools have changed since then, but the principles still hold up.) You’re filing a bug
Next post
Decodable Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible. — Alan Kay As programmers, we like to organize stuff into