4

Our company makes software. Issues are common in this sector, and we always take customer reports seriously.

We also triage our software issues to give priority to the blocking ones leaving cosmetic fixes at the bottom of the queue (I rush for resuming low-priority old tickets but I can't find a lot of consensus on that).

Our customer made up a short list of issues, of which one is functional and can be resolved in short time once they send us information requried, and other two cosmetic that have been just tracked but require a little more time to deal with.

We would like to provide the customer with working code ASAP. Since we are already scheduling an upgrade (due to planned evolutive maintenance) in the next months, I would like to push the functional changes as fastest as possible to production and wait for the next upgrade for the other issues.

I am going to reply to my customer requesting information. How can I professionally tell the customer that we are not fixing the cosmetic issue for this release?

Should I:

  • Tell the customer straight? As for the cosmetic fixed, they have been included in our backlog and will be fixed by the next planned upgrade
  • Not mention until they ask?
  • Other?

Of course if customer insists on getting lower-priority issues fixed ASAP, we will start working but will push the ETA by one day.

  • I would just not mention but that is just opinion – paparazzo Jan 30 '18 at 13:29
6

I run a small business on the side of my main coding job, this is dealing with code modules for game development.

Because of this, I run into situations similar to yours every now and then (but on a smaller scale).

I think you have two options depending upon the situation:

  1. If a customer is asking about an issue, I explain why it's being delayed to them as simply as you can.

  2. If they're not asking about the issue, don't mention it.

The key thing is to keep the customer aware and updated of any changes to issues they feel are important.

Ideally I'd have a public bug tracking system (such as a public GitHub repo for issues) but whilst it's all kept internal I do one of those two.

1

First, remember that low priority to you is not necessarily low priority to them. Cosmetic issues are often extremely important to the people who only see the cosmetic side of things. I would say to discuss your planned schedule with them and be prepared to readjust based on their priorities not yours. Customer priorities should almost always take precedence.

  • I disagree on this, a cosmetic issue is never as important as a security flaw. Customers can quite often focus on a visual glitch and don't know anything about why things like Dirty COW need patching first. Ideally OP should do them in tandem but that's not always practical. – Connor Jan 30 '18 at 15:50
  • You have to educate them about the security flaw. But a cosmetic issue could be costing them customers. – HLGEM Jan 30 '18 at 18:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.