Monday, January 21, 2008

Polish This

Polish. The word bothers me. Read Bildo's post about Conan getting delayed again "to polish the game even more." Excuse me for beating a dead horse, but this little rant is timely for me. You see, my work has delayed their main product again and they actually used "polish" as the excuse. Um... right... I'm in software test. I've seen defect log and it ain't pretty.

When a company tells its customers they're postponing a release for "polishing"... that is PR putting a positive spin on a bad situation. When a company tells itself they're postponing release for "polishing" ... that, my friends, is politics.

If I hear the "polish" excuse, I think the product has too many:
  • Broken features... that is, good ol' bugs. Hopefully minor things like typos and not hangs or crashes.
  • Half-finished features. Either the feature was poorly specced to begin with or the software engineer cut corners to finish on time.
  • Poorly designed features. Maybe it sounded good on paper but beta testers found it boring.

I had a point to all this... but lost it. Meh. I'm just bitter they delayed Smash Bros Brawl again.


SmakenDahed said...

True that.

I was thinking things related to that this morning. It amazes me about how quick our developers are to be willing to defer something.

By the way, "defer" is defined as "push it out to see if we will fix it next release". There is some fine print on that too which goes, "if a customer complains about it."

Shouldn't the devs be pushing to fix stuff? Their work should be a point of pride, not a matter of, "oops, I screwed up.. let's see if anyone other than testing notice it."

I mean, testing should be arguing with devs not to fix something so close to a release for fear of breaking a bunch of other things.

What's funny is that our field is telling us we have enough features that they can sell the product, we need to tighten things up and, yeah, polish it up. Our PM is telling us we need more features.

Argh, it's frustrating.

I'm generalizing a bit here, there are devs who I get to argue with about when to fix something or not, but they aren't all that common - and they tend to be the senior types with years of experience who also take pride in their work.


Bildo said...

I'd rather companies just stop releasing dates period, stick with a general year: "Our game might maybe come out sometime in 2008... perhaps."

I'd love that as opposed to all the delays we see all over the place. I've grown mostly numb to them, but indeed they are aggravating, especially when they happen just 8 weeks from launch.

As all gamers know, 8 weeks is the closing time on waiting for a new title... now there's 8 more on top of it. It's like Groundhog Day.

Still, like Funcom and all other companies know, I'm (we're) still chomping at the bit to play. Just stop teasing us so much, eh?