Clear The Clutter

A family friend of mine used to be a  serious hoarder. I mean TV show worthy level hoarding. I was once asked to go help her clean her house, so she could move.

Every single room in the house was packed. There where maybe two seats that where not covered in books, magazines, news papers, hats, coats, shoes, if you can think of it, it was probably somewhere in that house.

My dad rented a skip and we set about removing the junk. Our friend usually had to be removed from the scene as she had a habit of picking stuff out of the skip and bringing it back into the house. She thought that one day she might need it. Thankfully after a few weeks the house was fully cleaned out and our friend was able to sell it and move.

This story popped into my head when thinking about old tech debt and bugs every company seems to manage to build up.

Why do we keep them? Ever go through those still open bugs and stories? How old are they?
If its 2 years old, why is it still there? Cluttering up backlogs and making it more confusing to see what real work needs doing?

How can we class it as a bug, if its out in production for years and nobody complained about it? Maybe fixing It could even ruin our current customer experience.

I once went to a talk where the subject of old bugs came up. This company went about closing all their open bugs, this managed to upset their customers. It seems that since the bugs had been in production for several years they where actually being used as either features or work arounds had been build and now stopped working. So fixing an old bug had actually changed how the customers where using the software, hilarious.


Are we just like my friend holding on to these stories and bugs thinking one day we will need them? Clear out the clutter, ask yourself this question: Is this stuff adding any value?

If the answer is no, DELETE IT!!!

If it’s really important it will come up again, but I’m sure if nobody has looked at it in a year or two it wasn’t very important anyway. Now you can focus on a cleaner backlog with stories that will actually add some value and make some customers happy.