Product Management in the Real World -“The Divider” Case Study, Part II

There are scratches all around the coin slot
Like a heartbeat, baby trying to wake up,
But this machine can only swallow money.
You cant lay a patch by computer design.
Its just a lot of stupid, stupid signs.
 

Two weeks later Ron sent an initial version to QA. The testers vigorously began opening bugs with hilarious titles: “Nothing Works!”, “GUI Crashes Every 46 Seconds” ,”Spelling Mistakes in Non Existent Help Screens”. The coders raged about QA’s inability to overcome transitory hiccups, and silently ran to fix the problems.  

An improved version with most of new features was deployed to QA after a two month delay. Surprisingly, it turned out the old, “existing” features the divider was supposed to expose are hardly working. Since they had no user interface the testers “forgot” to check them.  It seemed customers were not using the protections either.

The default setting for the innovative protections was set to off, as it raised too many false alarms.  Since there was no visible way to turn them on, only the most advanced and innovative, paranoid customers implemented the protections.

To make things worse, no support tickets were open as well, and the CMO was convinced the product is top notch.

Sigourney shouted at Ron:”How can you provide a product that’s not working? Did you ever test it yourself before deploying to QA? “Ron, who wasn’t the quiet type, responded: “I own the SQL Guardian” that works smoothly. The “Data Crusher” was written by the company founder five years ago and you can talk to him about it. I did not join this company to be a code monkey. You are throwing undefined tasks at me, stealing Mark for other projects and then wonder why things break.  I will not stand this hypocrisy”.

team-problem.jpg

Rumors of the problems reached Oberon, the director. He moved three additional developers to help the project. Although Ron felt the project is running out of control, bugs were fixed at a much higher rate. The director ran a daily status meeting to monitor the development and reprioritize trivial bugs. He kept the team confident :”Microsoft ships with many bugs and they still rule the world”,” In a 1.0 version  customers are forgiving for minor problems”.

The marketing department published a passionate release note regarding the innovative new concept TASP security will present in. The stock rose and the sales team was energized. The entire R&D helped and people worked around the clock. Following three months of intense work, a Go-No-Go dissuasion was held with QA, R&D and product management.

QA felt the product is not mature enough, but the rest of the team ignored them. There wasn’t a single product they ever approved, not even the successful “Knowledge keeper” .The exhausted Sigourney felt the product is ready and people got tired of the repeating delays. Five months later than the original plan, the pressure was mounting to go ahead and release.  Ron was the only opposition, and refused to be responsible for the results. Oberon considered all the options and decided to ship. To comfort Ron all the limitations will be listed in a ten page long release notes paper.

Stay tuned for Part III – The Customers.

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