[sf-perl] Bug management / time management

Andy Lester andy at petdance.com
Mon May 7 19:34:13 PDT 2007

> If so, do you care to share any tips, tricks, hints, or methods  
> that you
> find work well?

Bugs are technical debt.  Here are slides from my talk on technical  
debt: http://petdance.com/perl/technical-debt/

The solution is simple, but not easy:

* Identify your debts
* Determine the costs of each
* Pay the most profitable
* Repeat as necessary

In your case, "identify" is already done.  It's figuring out the  
costs that's tough.

> The people in my work team are drowning. They're an Operations Support
> team so they don't tend to get crashing program error bugs; they get
> please do this task bugs and usually, the reporter set the priority.

Please also read Tom Limoncelli's excellent "Time Management For  
System Administrators".  It discusses exactly this sort of  

> When you're staring at a dozen, 50, 100 or more bugs, how do you  
> tackle
> them? How do _you_ prioritize what to work on when the bug already  
> has a
> Priority field that may not relate to your personal workflow or  
> task list?
> (e.g. there has to be some way to prioritize the work on 15 P2  
> bugs :-(

Even more important than which bugs (plural) to fix is which bug  
(singular) to start on.  Work on one bug.  Fix it.  Move to the  
next.  It's better to get one bug completely fixed than ten bugs half  

Do not get all caught up in the size and massiveness of the pile. Eat  
the elephant one bite at a time.

> I'm looking for suggested _successful_ time & bug management tips  
> to help
> them cope. I've never, personally, had a bug queue with 50-200 bugs  
> in it
> so this is outside my realm of personal experience.

My big concern is that you want to not get caught up in long-term  
planning.  Get going short-term, and worry about long-term in a few  

I'd work off of paper at first.  Print out the bug list, gather a  
group around the table, and talk about what's most profitable.  Mark  
up the pages of paper with highlighters.  Keep it low-tech.  Figure  
out what can give you the best bang for the buck at first. Most  
profitable means that the bug that is the most expensive in impact  
may not be not be the one you start on because it's brutally large to  

Everyone take something and go.  And then re-check at the end of the  
week and see how everyone is doing.


Andy Lester => andy at petdance.com => www.petdance.com => AIM:petdance

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