Insights · 4 min read

Engineers: Here's how to convince your PM that a bug needs fixing

The FullStory Team
Posted September 10, 2021
Engineers: Here's how to convince your PM that a bug needs fixing

Here’s a scenario that many engineers will be familiar with: 

You get a complaint about something in your product not working properly. The next day, a few similar (though slightly less polite) complaints roll in. And the following days, there are so many complaints that churn becomes a risk. 

Yep, you’ve got a bug that needs to be fixed yesterday—but you need to get buy-in. 

As an engineer, getting the bug fixed means first convincing your product manager (PM) that it should be a priority. Here’s how to build a case that’s backed by data and customer empathy. 

Make a case with both quantitative and qualitative data 

A compelling case should speak to your PM’s head and heart. 

With a Digital Experience Intelligence platform like FullStory on your side, you can leverage user insights to uncover the data that will make your case strongest. 

Quantifying the problem: A look at the numbers

A good place to start is to find out how many people are experiencing the problem. Use your DXI platform to pull the segment of those affected to help you visualize relevant trends.

Next, quantify the impact the bug is having on the appropriate metric—this could conversions, engagement, or something else. 

Don’t be afraid to use informed estimates if for some reason you don’t know the exact figures. The purpose of assigning numerical values to the bug is to generate discussion and help the PM triage importance relative to other priorities.

Qualitative measures: Queue empathy

There’s no better way to help your PM understand customers’ experiences than by actually showing them what’s happening. Here, a DXI solution’s ability to create user empathy really comes in handy.

Using session replay, return to the issue and watch exactly what the customer’s experience was. Showing your PM a customer’s struggle and frustration is a powerful way to spur an empathetic response. 

Session replay also helps PMs track exactly what chain of events led to the bug. With this feature, it’s easy to see how users are running into problems and mark exactly where in a session they encountered the bug. 

Additionally, DXI allows you to play back JavaScript to see the error that’s being triggered. Reproducing bugs becomes as easy as a few clicks. 

Finally, you can leave notes in sessions to provide context and stats (such as volume of requests and time users have spent stuck on a bug) right alongside the session playback to further inform your PM.

By creating this powerful combination of data and empathy, your PM can easily assess how a bug should be treated. 

Find out how FullStory’s Digital Experience Intelligence platform makes bug prioritization and resolution easier.

Request your demo today.

Combat recency bias with empathetic distance

Sometimes a bug crops up, there may not be time to fix it right away. This is a good time to consider empathetic distance. 

What is “empathetic distance” in this scenario? It’s putting time between when the bug is first documented and when it’s reported to the product team. This could be five to ten minutes or an entire day, depending on the size of the issue. 

Taking a pause between receiving the customer case and raising it to the product team helps balance out the innate tendency toward recency bias. Empathetic distance helps teams prioritize the changes that will have the most impact.

In this scenario, use your DXI solution to attach a session link to your bug report, ensuring the person fixing it has easy access.

Communicating with customers honestly

No matter how convincing your case may be, not all bugs that are brought to your product manager’s attention are going to get fixed.

When a bug gets passed over, close the loop with your customers. They will thank you for honest communication. Make sure that any product updates you send are contextual and valuable to the customer. 

Be straightforward in your communication. Update them on the problem and demonstrate that you care about their experience by offering continued support. While it may not be what they want to hear, they’ll appreciate your follow-through. 

Using Digital Experience Intelligence to fix those bugs

Bugs are unavoidable, but with DXI platform like FullStory, reporting, understanding, and resolving them becomes a lot less painful. 

For more info about how we address issues like this at FullStory, check out our Engineering Blog

Make an impact at your organization. FullStory empowers engineering teams to understand user issues by watching them happen.

Request your demo today.

The FullStory TeamContributor

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