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    « Method 17 of 100: The User Interface Race | Main | Straddling the Divide »

    August 30, 2011

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    At my previous company we tried both the "Budget by Time" with the whole team fixing issues and the "Budget by person" approaches. There are pros and cons to each method.

    The benefit of the whole team working on the usability defects is that mass quantities of fixes went into the branch and developers could address their special areas of expertise. This made the work a whole lot more efficient.

    The not-so-good-thing is the amount of code churn happening in a day that could result in broken builds the next day. This especially happens when there is a lot of dependency code in the UI.

    If one person works on fixing the issues it becomes a longer time to complete the task and that is the biggest detractor for this method. However, one developer working methodically along has less of an opportunity to catastrophically break the build the way a whole team could while noodling around in that code all at once.

    There is also something to be said about having one go-to-person for “usability issues” and that person is in a position to be very interactive with the UX and QA teams and will diligently track all that he/she fixes.

    I like the idea of having one developer working on usability and other small defects. Even though the tradeoff is time, I think building a language and rapport between UX and Dev. teams ultimately helps make a more usable product for customers.

    Thanks for the thoughful post on the topic, John.

    There is a big difference between bugs and usability. One is obvious, the other is not. While it is obvious we have a bug, it may not be obvious we have a usability problem.

    Now, I'm a huge fan of usability, but realistically, it comes down to a lot of trust in your "usability" expert. If I have 20% of my resources I can apply to fix bugs that I know will get fixed or apply them to usability where I hope someone will notice, that is a tough decision. I wish that decision was easier to make in favor of usability. I've seen investments made in usability fall flat and be counter-productive. So, it is a real problem we face.

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