That story made me think of my blog post today about the developers seemingly always being out of reach of the people who need them the most. In this case it was the employees of this company having no way to even contact the people in charge of the systems. It also happens to us when we’re dealing with products we run on our servers or just on our own systems. It’s pretty frustrating situation to deal with when you report bugs to the support team.
We’ve had long outstanding bugs with several pieces of software we run both of which causing us headaches every once in a while. In every case we’ve dealt strictly with support people who tell us it’s not yet fixed. When you hear this for a year it starts to get to a point where you just want to say let me talk to them. It makes me wonder if the support person is explaining the issue or even reporting it to developers at all. In every case these vendors have no bug reporting systems at all or shut them down in favor of none. So it’s make a ticket to support and hope they file a proper bug report.
I did a time as a co-op where I did software development so I can understand the problem of developers talking to users all the time. There are times though when you need to talk to the end user to figure out how to replicate a bug. I know some developers would never do that but rather would sit in their little coding cave and never interact with the end users at all to implement fixes that matter or add even very simple features. Along with that developers getting involved in aspects so they know the product better also goes a long way. Rather than just developing the product go out there and try to perform the task the end users are doing. So if it’s in house application go and watch them on their computer or work with them to try to accomplish their tasks for a few hours or a day or whatever. If it’s an end user piece of software try to create a better test environment or get more active feedback rather than just saying no bugs it works. When you intend to use a piece of software for what it’s meant for you tend to find a lot of things you wouldn’t if you’re going off a check box system of what needs done. So for example you have a screen and it works so you’re happy as a developer but as the end user the way it was designed is adding extra work load and one tiny change to the screen say some sort of auto complete instantly increases productivity by 10 fold.
That’s my rant for today just if you’re developing software make so users if necessary can talk to developers to get bugs squashed. If you’re a developer don’t instantly dismiss end users as being idiots as they may be onto something and maybe it’s worth listening and trying to implement those changes. The changes may seem small to you but they may be huge for the end users.