Initial Customers Always Find Bugs

Signing the first few customers is incredibly difficult (see The First Five Customers), yet after all that effort, the next challenge is keeping them as they inevitably find product bugs. No matter how extensively you test the software, end users always come up with edge cases and scenarios that you never dreamed of trying.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind with initial customers and bugs:

  • Product bugs are normal and it’s best to budget development time in advance for fixing them
  • Apologize whenever a customer finds a bug and set expectations that it will be fixed quickly
  • Find a balance between automated testing (unit, integration, etc) and human testing
  • As the product matures, new customers will stop finding as many bugs

Product bugs are commonplace. With customers it’s critical to communicate and get things fixed quickly, especially for the early adopters. Over time things will settle down and the product will become more stable.

What else? What are some other thoughts on initial customers always finding bugs?

2 thoughts on “Initial Customers Always Find Bugs

  1. Totally agree, I also find that introducing new products especially among acquaintances and friends you are held to a higher standard that a competitor who is already out there selling the same product. Constant feedback and a commitment to quality, improvement and customer satisfaction is vital.

  2. Great points. I would add that teams can also use bugs to help guide early engineering focus.

    If the team can’t fix bugs quickly enough, they might be doing too much ‘startup code’ and need to slow down a bit or clean up the internal design. Its hard to prioritize this type of work but if bugs get unwieldy then it needs to go up a notch.

    Similarly, if the team is having to budget too much time on bugs each sprint cycle, they may not have sufficient test coverage which would catch them before they get out into the wild. Even smoke tests (does it broadly not break.. ignoring edges cases) can go a long way since it gives the next guy a framework for filling in deeper tests as edge case bugs pop up.

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