• Tobias Coetzee

Zero Defects Allowed


A development team must always strive to have zero defects open. A defect means something is wrong, the quality isn’t right and it introduces an unknown factor to the project.

It doesn’t matter if it is a small defect or a big defect. It might just be the defect that breaks the camel’s back and camel rehabilitation isn’t cheap.


Being human

I’m somebody who wants things to work right first time, not kind of right or eventually. So a bug, or the more politically correct term, an issue, is a big red flashing light that I need to resolve ASAP.

Just a quick disclaimer, this post isn’t about preventing defects or how to fix them (camel rehabilitation). In the end we are only human and developing software isn’t an exact science, i.e. defects will occur. It is how we handle defects that matter. It is what separates us from the animals, especially camels.

Six Sigma anyone?

The defect count is one measure of quality, and zero defects means you get a gold star. You don’t need to be a black belt in Six Sigma to know that.

Most clients don’t (and probably can’t) go and look at the code you wrote. The only measure they have is how quick they are going through their test cases and how many defects are being logged. The higher the count and slower the testing, the more the solution you delivered is looking like a camel with a broken back.

The desert

Defects introduce an unknown factor. How many times have you looked at a bug report thinking it will be quick to fix. You start investigating and realize maybe you were a bit quick off the gun, it might take an hour or two. Eventually, five hours later the bug is fixed, not as quick as you thought, was it?

That is the biggest issue with defects. It is very difficult to estimate how long a defect will take to fix, i.e. you can’t accurately estimate how big an impact all those open defects are going to have.

Once the defect count gets out of hand you start feeling like you are lost in the Sahara with no salvation in sight. Just you and your old camel.

I’m sure everybody has been lost in the desert before, whether by your own doing or bad luck. How important is a zero defect count at the end of each day for you, leave a comment and let me know?


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