Why You Should Remove Panic Features From Your Software Application

Let's talk shop for once, shall we? Enough whining and posts about fluffy extinct animals.

It was a coincidence, but we ditched FogBugz more or less at the same time Joel Spolsky announced he's quitting the blogosphere. We were happy campers for more than a year when it comes to using FogBugz. One day I definitely plan to write about why FogBugz is not suitable for web design and development companies. But for now, let's just say that we decided to write our own project management and bug tracking web application. This blog is supposed to be about creating one such app, so let's talk about it, dammit!

So here we are, releasing version 0.1.2. We've converted the FogBugz database and in it, there they were:

Urgency statuses.

There were 7 urgency statuses, ranging from 1 = "Drop everything and do this" to 7 = "This is NOT important so much, that I wonder why I even bother filing this bug report at all, but still let it sit here for all eternity anyway and annoy the hell out of the project manager".

I'll cut to the chase: we've removed all panic features (urgency statuses for tickets) in our application and you should *so* do the same, or else. There is no way in our ticketing software to indicate one ticket is more important than the other. OMG how do I panic now?!?

The rest of this post is for the nerd in you who just won't take the word of a complete stranger at face value.

Redefining "panic" did wonders for us

In our dictionary, panic is everything that absolutely cannot wait another second because the world will crumble to little pieces if we don't do it *now*.

You know, like 2012 panic. Like, John Cusack squeezing the last breath out of his car while escaping death-by-a-gigantic-earthquake behind him.

That kind of panic. Everything else is "I'll do it tomorrow". Srsly. Especially if it's a fake panic attack by a client.

The point being: if you really are having a 2012 kind of panic right now - you don't need a software application which can label your life-or-death issue as "urgent" or "Priority 1". No: when shit hits the fan, you scream or beg or yell at the first poor bastard standing in your way. If it's so urgent, how the hell did you find the time to file a ticket about it? If it's so urgent, how come you are willing to wait for me to reply to your urgent e-mail? The mere fact that you have time to write a ticket about it says that this can probably wait until tomorrow.

You don't need panic statuses, buttons, labels and "text blinking red"

When our (geographically dislocated) team really needs someone to do something for them *now*, we just IM or call each other. Sure, sometimes I screw up and because of that, somebody on my team needs to drop everything he is doing right now and go save the world for me. In such (rare :-) cases, I always let them know it was me who fucked up. I'll make sure I return the favor when they are in the same situation.

The world is already filled with FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), why would you want to code more of FUD into your application? Do you plan to do some analysis of FUD-driven behavior later? "Gosh, let's calculate how many panic attacks we've had this week/month/year. Let me run a query which will draw out a niiice little pie-chart on FUD over here and a niiiice little CSV export over there..." Would you really want your own piece of software give you (or your users) feedback - no, let's call it FUDback - on how disorganized and miserable they can really become?

Just trust me on this: If there is no panic button, people will panic much less.

Disagree? One question for you: Do you miss the red "High priority" exclamation mark in Gmail? No? Touche.

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B2B Website Content Writing Guide by Visnja Zeljeznjak, logit.net

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