Thursday, November 17, 2011

When you Feel Rejected…

It is common to see a bug rejected as “Not a requirement”. It sometimes hurts as it pushes aside your valuable feedback with a process related excuse.
Common examples are
·         When a requirement includes implementation details and the devil (our bug) is in those details – the bug is actually in the requirements.
·         When an issue is detected by using an oracle other than the official requirement (for example one of the HICCUPPS heuristics).
Some less logical examples that I’ve actually seen:
·         When the fix involves someone who is not committed to the effort yet – for example when a Platform bug requires a Software workaround, especially if the effort is big. “Not a requirement” here actually means “Not my responsibility”.
·         When a bug is the result of a design limitation. “Not a requirement” here is actually “It’s not my fault, it’s the Designers fault” and many times the “Bug fix is too expensive”.
Choose the playing field according to the context.
There’s a big field of product value that includes a smaller field of the requirements scope. I play in both. When in order to find this disputable bug, we kicked the ball to the big field, when someone moved its status to “Not a requirement”, he kicked the ball to a smaller field.

Now it’s your turn to select your move according to the context:
1)      Accept the bug rejection
Sometimes the other side of the coins’ argument has validity.
2)      Kick the ball within the requirements field
While the “requirements – yes or no?” argument limits the discussion, if you are able to win it, it will be easier to lead the bug to fix, as the bug handling process is usually more efficient and faster than the requirements definition and approval process. Beware of being too persuasive and winning the argument without a proper reviewer.
3)      Kick the ball to the big field of value again
When the rejection is correct process-wise but not product value wise, it’s time to play in the big field with the big boys. Advocate your bug to stakeholders and decision makers, learn more from customer support and architects or submit a requirement change request. Running in this field is long distance, scoring a goal is much rarer, but this is where you will meet the professional players and improve your own skills.
While the requirements discussion can be more or less relevant, playing beyond it might bring the best rewards.