Bug or Feature

Everyone knows this I guess, just another software developer stereoptype. I have just encountered this the first time in this form yesterday.

I had prepared a fancy menu to celebrate Rollands last written exam. After dinner I took a quick look at my email box and found several bug reports. Since our big mega project is going live tomorrow (unless there remain any bugs) I decided to browse them and see what each was. One wasn’t a bug of mine it turned out this morning, the other was uhm ‘interesting’.

The reporter had put this as a ‘Critical Bug’ of absolutely highest priority. I nearly dropped dead, since this is just one short of a showstopper bug. The report contained the sentence “This is bad, what should we do in this case” and there was some sample input to reproduce the bug. Minutes later he had posted a screenshot. At home I don’t have access to our internal bugzilla (still no ipsec) so I could not take a closer look.

The description of the bug though made me think. The error message the tester had encountered was “…. multiple suggestions found for ….” which is a completely legit error message if the input doesn’t match 100% and up to now this one worked just fine. I also noticed how the abbreviations he had used in the sample input weren’t correct and they would have to be corrected. This was the moment I was about 70% sure that the reporter had simply sent me a ‘Critical Bug’ that was actually a feature.

This morning – after having a flat tire on my bike – I arrived somewhat exhausted in the office. The first thing I did was that I entered the sample input into the form and voilà the results were just fine. There were suggestions for the wrong field and if one was selected the complete thing was accepted.

I opened the bugzilla report and started writing my answer while telling my colleagues about the ‘Critical Bug’ that was a feature. At the moment half the team is laughing hard. I marked the bug as invalid and someone has closed it in the meantime. The bad thing is that the project managers are currently making hitlists of the people with the most and meanest bugs. Such a bug is not good for me. I might just have gotten some really negative comments from my boss.

Of course one can laugh about it but on the other hand something like this can make me look bad to the uninitiated and in the light of the launch of the big project this is not good at all.