The first step is to admit it
When you make software, you will make bugs, and bugs will make issues. Yes, we are talking about software issues. All programs contain bugs. According to Steve McConnell's book, Code Complete: “Industry Average: about 15 – 50 errors per 1000 lines of delivered code.” 1
So the first step is to come clean. Admit it. YES!!! YES!! YES!! There are bugs in our software.
Write it down
"Every bug report is a love letter." I heard this for the first time from the famous Erich Gamma during an Eclipse conference. It touched me. Indeed, if a customer cares enough to file issues, there is a positive connection, even if it is a nasty bug.
We decided to open our ticketing system to all our customers. Customers can file issues and enhancement requests, and they can see what is still open. They also can see what others report, and they can even follow the helpdesk team. Following the helpdesk team means receiving all the mail the helpdesk team gets and reading all the issues and enhancement requests.
Customers can search the database for any current or resolved issues.
Being open has the following advantages:
- We cannot hide. An issue reported is an issue visible to everyone.
- A customer can see their open issues and confront us. "Ping! What's the status"?
- We must act on issues and provide a solution or a workaround.
- We collaborate and strengthen our relationship.
We use Gravity as our ticketing system. It does everything you expect from a professional ticketing system. Gravity is created with DartLang in the browser as the front. The backend is Java and the database can be anything, including DB2 for IBM i.
One of its many perks is the statistics engine. It is the one tool that tells us how we are doing.
I'm pretty proud of our 95% resolution rate.
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