A lot of software shops talk about quality. A lot of people really want to build quality software. But nobody wants to take the hit for bugs. “Of course you'll have bugs,” they say. “Bugs can't be avoided!” “Bugs are a quantum necessity!” (OK, I don't know what a quantum necessity is, but it sounds pretty final.)
So there are very few who will step up and say. “Sure, if you give me cash for my code, there should be no bugs. At all.” Now there was this little-known guy, (Knuth, or something like that) who did hand out cheques when you found a bug in his stuff. I believe his code has been bug-free for years.
But let's be honest here. The human animal responds to incentives. Plain and simple. We do what gratifies us, and we avoid danger and negative outcomes. Now Ricebridge is a pretty agile shop, so I've got all the gratification I can handle, software development-wise. But it just isn't enough to get rid of the bugs. And there are a lot of people throwing all sorts of development practices at bugs, in the hope that happy, gratified, developers, will code perfect code and perfect products. Ain't gonna happen. We humans are too stoopid.
So we need a new tack. A bit of danger. Some thrills. There's nothing like a kick up the arse to get you moving. I'm deadly serious about bugs at Ricebridge, so let's up the ante. Let's go for broke. Bugs have to hurt. As coders, they have to hurt us, not just our users.
So here’s the deal. If you invest in my products, and you find a bug, I will give you a ThinkGeek Gift Certificate for $15 dollars. It's real money — you can buy cool nerd stuff with it. Specifically I chose ThinkGeek so that you could get some fun out of my mess ups.
So it's time to get serious. I'm going to make 100% bug free software. It's not just a goal, not just an intention. It's something that is going to happen, no matter how many Swiss Memory USBs it takes!
(Note: I'm a ThinkGeek affiliate, but I reckon it would take a year to earn even $15 that way, so the $15 comes right out of my pocket.)