+7
Answered

XTRF bugs and process of fixing them

Alexandros 1 year ago in Something Else updated by Voucher Pro 7 months ago 11

Hello everyone,

I thought I should start this topic since I have seen several other people in various threads unhappy with both the number of bugs introduced in new versions as well as the time it takes to fix these. 

The purpose here is not to vent our frustrations about the various issues, but to see if people agree both that there are serious problems with the bugs as well as propose ways to better address these in the future.

For example, my main problems/issues with the process are:

  1. Obviously, lack of testing before a version is released
  2. There is not a "current list of bugs" for each version available here or anywhere else, which means we are wasting time double checking if something is indeed a bug, creating tickets, providing documentation, ways to replicate, etc., while someone else has done that already. A simple "I am experiencing this same bug" button would work better and save time both for us, as well as XTRF who have to go through multiple tickets for the same bug.
  3. Resolving tickets seems to take forever. Major bugs should be resolved quickly, but sometimes we need to wait for months(!) before a fix is available
  4. On a number of occasions, support staff has misunderstood the ticket (although it was very clearly explained, with screenshots, steps to reproduce, etc.) which meant at least a couple of wasted weeks before they got on the right track to addressing the actual issue
  5. The way of contacting support is unproductive. We send a ticket, they reply a couple of days later with a question, we reply immediately, they reply a couple of days later with another question. Things which would have been resolved in no time if there was direct communication (chat, skype, video call, anything), take days or weeks

What do you think? Do you experience these issues as well? Do you have any more to add? Any ideas on how to improve things?

Answer

Answer
Answered

Hello Everyone

First of all, I just want to say that I understand your frustration. I'm a user or various systems, IT tools and applications as well. Every once in a while my phone OS forcesme to update and instead of a thrill about new features, I feel the fear of what will be broken ;)

Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit :) And I'm not writing this to make any excuses, I just want to notice the fact that issues and bugs in the IT systems are not XTRF unique feature.

We're continuously working on improving the quality of the system.

Regarding the points from Alexandros post:


Ad.1 I'm afraid that's not true. 

Every single improvement in the production cycle is tested in reference to the usage story and its specifications. The issues we find at that stage are fixed before the release. Additionally, before releasing every new system version we carry out the stabilization of the system. It is time when we execute several hundred manuals and several hundred automatic regression tests on the version that is about to be released.

Unfortunatelly it this does not ensure the complete absence of errors because it's hard to predict all possibilities and scenarios. But again we're doing our best, our tests database grows continuously as we add new test scenarios. We're working on making more and more test automatic which would make it more reliabe and would shorten the stabilization time (quicker release).

Ad.2 At first glance it might look like a valuable feature, but ... First of all, in most cases description of an issue requires examples of steps to reproduce etc. that means client sensitive data which we simply can't publish. Wasting time to rewrite and anonymize the description of the tickets issued by our clients is probably the last thing you'd like for us to do.

Please trust on this to a person who spends several years digging through the list of current and resolved issues to find if the issue I'm experiencing was already reported or at least there was something similar reported by someone else in the past.

The XTRF support might look for you like not the best but actually is the most optimal way in this case. 

Ad 3. All issues reported have their priority before we can fix the Major we need to take care of the Criticals and Blockers. Aside from that, it's hard to predict if an issue is easy to solve. One issue can be easy to fix and it takes few hours while some other more complicated.

Ad 4. This is something wre're continously working on with internal and external support staff trainings.

Ad 5. I'm sorry if it feels like it takes ages to get a reply from the service desk. We're doing our best to make it shorter.

Best regards,

Marek

Thanks for revisiting this issue. Would be nice to get some feedback from XTRF on this. It's been eerily quiet since the start of this year.

A few months ago, I would've fully agreed with you regarding the support experience.

In the past months, however, I've seen some improvement in response times and relevancy of support replies, and even got fixes for some of our annoying bugs. 

I hope that this is the beginning of an improvement process :)

I have the same impression as Laszlo.

In the past I would have fully agreed, but recently we've seen some major bugs fixed and our open tickets have decreased significantly..

But I completely agree with your second point, having a central list of bugs where you can indicate you experience the same would be very helpfull. 

Regards,

Robrecht

+1

I was frustrated with the rollout of version 8, so I do agree with point 1. I will say on the other points...


Current list of bugs... that would be helpful.

Resolving tickets seems better to us too. I do believe that XTRF is working to improve this and at least with the less in-depth technical issues, they do a pretty good job getting back to us in a reasonable time.

Misunderstanding of tickets... Yes, this happens. We're in the US and work in English. We try to be very clear with how we describe our issues, but it's a big challenge. We do find that it can waste time, especially in relation to the last point.

Contacting support is never a time-sensitive issue. The time zones tend to mean delay in getting back to us and back and forth can take days. Actually, I wish XTRF had better documentation (database schema please??) to allow us to better support ourselves. The time it takes to go back and forth is a big time drain when we need to get things done. 


    +1

    +1 on the documentation. Understanding the database schema would go a long way in designing our own templates, for instance.

    Please see the following article: https://www.xtrf.eu/database-based-integrationa-sackable-offence/

    If you need to design templates, you should ask our Helpdesk for a javadoc api documentation.

    It's nice to hear they seem to be picking up the pace in resolving bugs. I am hoping this will become evident for us as well soon. So far, the average time for fixing any bugs we report is over 2 months.

    Answer
    Answered

    Hello Everyone

    First of all, I just want to say that I understand your frustration. I'm a user or various systems, IT tools and applications as well. Every once in a while my phone OS forcesme to update and instead of a thrill about new features, I feel the fear of what will be broken ;)

    Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit :) And I'm not writing this to make any excuses, I just want to notice the fact that issues and bugs in the IT systems are not XTRF unique feature.

    We're continuously working on improving the quality of the system.

    Regarding the points from Alexandros post:


    Ad.1 I'm afraid that's not true. 

    Every single improvement in the production cycle is tested in reference to the usage story and its specifications. The issues we find at that stage are fixed before the release. Additionally, before releasing every new system version we carry out the stabilization of the system. It is time when we execute several hundred manuals and several hundred automatic regression tests on the version that is about to be released.

    Unfortunatelly it this does not ensure the complete absence of errors because it's hard to predict all possibilities and scenarios. But again we're doing our best, our tests database grows continuously as we add new test scenarios. We're working on making more and more test automatic which would make it more reliabe and would shorten the stabilization time (quicker release).

    Ad.2 At first glance it might look like a valuable feature, but ... First of all, in most cases description of an issue requires examples of steps to reproduce etc. that means client sensitive data which we simply can't publish. Wasting time to rewrite and anonymize the description of the tickets issued by our clients is probably the last thing you'd like for us to do.

    Please trust on this to a person who spends several years digging through the list of current and resolved issues to find if the issue I'm experiencing was already reported or at least there was something similar reported by someone else in the past.

    The XTRF support might look for you like not the best but actually is the most optimal way in this case. 

    Ad 3. All issues reported have their priority before we can fix the Major we need to take care of the Criticals and Blockers. Aside from that, it's hard to predict if an issue is easy to solve. One issue can be easy to fix and it takes few hours while some other more complicated.

    Ad 4. This is something wre're continously working on with internal and external support staff trainings.

    Ad 5. I'm sorry if it feels like it takes ages to get a reply from the service desk. We're doing our best to make it shorter.

    Best regards,

    Marek

    +4

    Hello Marek,


    Thank you for taking the time to answer these. 


    I would like to make the following comments for each point.


    1.

    If you test each version and there are still so many obvious bugs (and most of them are not bugs in new features but in existing functionality), then perhaps you need to beta test with actual users before release. Again, I could live with bugs in new features, but when you break something that has been working for many years and then take 2-3 months to fix it, I am VERY unhappy.

    2.

    You don't need to publish entire tickets and data. You just need to publish known bugs, something close to what you already do now when a new version is released, but perhaps with a bit more information so users can recognise it is the same issue they are facing.

    3. 

    From your answer, I understand that:

    a. we either need to upgrade the severity level of our tickets (for example, we reported as Major the problem of not being able to send quotes through XTRF because the filename is broken and is no longer recognised as a PDF, but it does in fact completely cripple our workflow) or

    b. There are so many Critical and Blocker bugs that any Major bug takes months to fix. 


    By the way, I still have a minor bug open from May 2018 (US dates are used in the Client Invoice page for Date and Payment Due date). That is not critical, but can you honestly tell me that nobody had the chance to fix that after 10 months and so many major and minor versions released since? 

    5.

    The problem is the way of contact is counter productive. It doesn't let your agents deal with a bug and move to the next and it does not solve bugs for us. When it is time to deal with a certain ticket, contact the person who submitted it to get all the information and resolve it. The way it is now, it takes 2-3 days to get information even for small things.

    +1

    I totally agreed with Alexandros

    • Every new version comes with more bugs from basic features being broke
    • Help desk takes forever to actually fix big bugs and to actually understand the problem even do is obvious and well documented
    • We waste a lot of time documenting bugs so the help desk understand and we just get an answer like "we are aware of that bug". So known bugs will be very helpful.
    • We have bugs not fixed from January 2018
    -3

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