I work at a software company. We use the term "Working as Designed" when a client/user reports an issue that is not really a bug but is an issue that was not accounted for in the original programming. We are looking for a better term. "Working as Designed" may imply that we intended the behavior. "Not implemented" may be a better term but is very programmer centric. Does anyone have any other ideas? Thanks!

  • If it wasn't in the original spec, and you don't want to admit the spec was inadequate, it's an upgrade or enhancement. – FumbleFingers Oct 6 '14 at 20:30
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    It sounds like you're saying that the customer's report has been turned into a feature request. Is that right? – Barmar Oct 6 '14 at 20:33

I would say "this behavior was not in the specification", and then the client can send you a CR (change request) to implement another behavior. "Not in the specification" both implies this is not really a bug but at the same time doesn't mean that current behavior was implemented on purpose, thus allowing both sides to feel OK.

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I guess the point is that "Working as designed" translates to "Broken as designed" (BAD) and that this is a pretty bad message for the user because they are frustrated when they hear this. "Working as Designed" may imply that you intended the behaviour or that you are happy with it!

So there might be some sort of actual issue here, either a use case that you didn't account for, like an edge case. In some of these cases you might feel that the error is cosmetic or not a blocking bug and you decide to carry the issue rather than invest in a bug fix for it (and there might well be a workaround available).

Wouldn't it be better to translate this to something like a "known issue"?

  • accept that there is a problem, the user is happy about that.
  • there might be a workaround and you could point them to that.
  • you could point them at a known issue article (if there is one) or you could take the time to document the known issue in a new article.
  • this is obviously where you would document the workaround
  • future bugs logged can also point to this kx article
  • you can track how many support tickets are tracked per known issue and perhaps take action in the future.
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I believe that the usual answer is "It's not a bug, it's an undocumented feature".

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