March 18, 2006

Out of all project artifacts, what is the last thing you want to lose ?

Consider this - there are a lot of things subject to configuration management. If there is a disaster and all the artifacts start disappearing one by one - what's the last thing you want to lose ?

Well, source code is one of the players. As this is the ultimate goal of the software project, it's clearly a winner, so let's pick the next runner up.

Source code history, versions repository ? Not unless you do some serious branching.

Backups ? Who needs them if there are originals ?

Architecture ? Documentation ? Can be recovered more or less easily as soon as the team is intact.

Test results, planning, meeting records ? Unlikely...

And so I argue that the next worst thing to lose would be the list of bugs and here is why:

  1. There are hundreds of unrelated items. There is no way anyone could keep any significant part of the list in one's head.
  2. There are no rules by which they can possibly be recovered.
  3. Each item was produced by more or less hard knock, sometimes even from an angry customer. Going through this again would be painful.
  4. Each defect is a ...uhm... defect, something that's not right with the project, something that should bug you until you fix it. And now you know that the thing just became a can of worms and there is no way to fix it.

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