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JOEL ON SOFTWARE: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity by Joel Spolsky

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elevenHARD-ASSED BUG FIXIN'

TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2001

Software quality, or the lack thereof, is something everybody loves to gripe about. Now that I have my own company, I finally decided to do something about it. Over the last two weeks, we stopped everything at Fog Creek to ship a new incremental version of FogBUGZ with the goal of eliminating all known bugs (there were about 30).

As a software developer, fixing bugs is a good thing. Right? Isn't it always a good thing?

No!

Fixing bugs is only important when the value of having the bug fixed exceeds the cost of fixing it.

These things are hard, but not impossible, to measure. Let me give you an example. Suppose you operate a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich factory. Your factory produces 100,000 ...

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