The inconsistently repeatable bug is the Product Manager’s nemesis. One of the worst things I can hear from a developer is the phrase “Gee, that works fine for me.” Usually followed by “We’ll continue to look into that.” Which is code for “I’m deleting this bug report from my queue until someone screams louder or demos it for me.”
As a PM, you don’t have time to run down every bug that a customer reports (if you do you’re spending too much time in the tactical and not enough on strategic). You must delegate and trust the development team to knock the bug out. What can you do to prevent these bugs from falling off the list? Here are a few tools:
- If you use a tool like Salesforce or FeaturePlan, you can track the volume of feature request or bug reports incoming. If the same non-repeatable bug shows up 50 times in the customer pool and the developers can’t replicate it, maybe it’s something dumb. Like, say, your program is now incompatible with a certain version of Outlook (which your customers and the rest of the World uses) while your developers use pine. That’s an extreme example of course, nothing like that has ever happened to me…
- Help Development by classifying bugs on severity and frequency. It’s always a goal to ship with zero P1’s, but you may choose to let one go if it’s a 1 in 1,000,000 kind of bug (unless you work in medical).
- Sometimes it makes sense to hook the end user up directly with the developer. This is a last-resort option for me; I hate for my end users to know anything about my developers because they try to circumvent the process and go direct to the developer the next time.
What else do you do for non-repeatable bugs?