When webhosts are working on differentiating themselves in such a competitive industry, common sense says that more unique features means more customers. Therefore, most webhosts focus on releasing new features, and leave minor bugs to be fixed later. After all, would customers want a killer feature, or a minor bug fixed? Of course a new feature always wins… After all, it’s just common sense.

I beg to disagree. I have seen many webhosts being outpaced by their competitors because they focused too much on releasing new features and ignore low-priority bugs. In fact, some project managers at hosting companies are so insistent to stay on schedule that they actually force their programmers to write bad code. At such companies, a bug fixing phase is never part of the formal schedule.

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to have zero bugs all the time. Here’s why:

  • Stop losing time and money: The longer you wait to fix bugs, the more they cost you time and money. Anyone with basic programming knowledge knows that it’s easy to fix bugs when writing the initial code, because you exactly remember every little detail about it. It gets harder after a few weeks or months because one forgets their own code. It gets worse if the original programmer is unavailable and another programmer has to take over. Furthermore, it gets even more expensive if your bugs are on a live platform.
  • Deliver projects on time: While programmers can estimate the time it takes to build a new feature with good accuracy, the same isn’t true for bugs. Bugs by nature are hard to troubleshoot and fix, and one has to find the root cause before fixing the associated code. This process could take a few minutes or a few weeks. There is no way of calculating the time it takes to fix a bug. This is why not having bugs in the first place is the key to having accurate deadlines.

Now pause for a minute, and imagine the following scenario:

FeatureHost owns 40% of the hosting market. FeatureHost is always innovating and releasing new features, and their teams fix bugs when they have time. Their platform is stable enough, customers seem to like it and they’re growing steadily. However, fixing bugs come second to releasing features.

ZeroBugsHost also owns 40% of the hosting market, but they primary focus on fixing bugs and offering a great user experience. They regularly release new features, but never release a buggy feature.

GrowingHost has a great marketing team which researched the market and identified an opportunity to release a killer feature that the majority of the webhosting customers in the world want. Neither FeatureHost nor ZeroBugsHost have this feature. GrowingHost released the feature, and quickly started gaining market share.

Naturally, FeatureHost and ZeroBugsHost’s customers wanted this feature. If they didn’t get it, they would leave for GrowingHost. ZeroBugsHost quickly implemented the feature due to their zero bugs policy, while FeatureHost lost half of its market share and was only able to release the feature after more than six months of trial and error, because they never enforced a zero bugs policy.

With that in mind, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my company more like FeatureHost or ZeroBugsHost?
  • Is my team rushing out to implement new features as fast as they can?
  • Is fixing bugs an important part of my team’s development process, or is it just an after-thought?

A zero-bugs policy is 1 out of the 9 pillars of webhost automation. If you want to learn more about the other pillars, you can download the report for free.