Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Bug-hugging is the phenomenon of programmers
keeping bugs assigned to themselves without actually doing
anything to fix them.
You typically engage in bug-hugging when there is a
bug that you feel strongly should be fixed,
but which you also simply haven't gotten around to working on yet.
Meanwhile the bug sits and collects dust.
resist allowing the bug to be postponed to the next
release because, "We really ought to fix this,"
and you also
resist allowing the bug to be reassigned to
another programmer on the team
"Only I know what needs to be done to fix this."
On the other hand, you are so busy with other things
that you never manage to get around to fixing that bug,
or because the fix is actually quite complicated
and you haven't been able to come up with a big enough
stretch of available time to devote to fixing it properly.
In some cases, the bug is actually a enormous amount of work,
and you don't really want to fix it, but you also can't
bear to part with it.
Think of it as the software version of
You know in your head that you can't fix it,
but in your heart you can't bear to let it go.
To put it in the vernacular, you have to piss or get off the pot.
The behavior is good-intentioned but ultimately harmful to
a project shipping on time
because it prevents project management from truly understanding
how close the project is to being finished,
and your affection for the bug prevents them from reassigning it
to somebody who has
room on his plate
to fix it.
The kicker is that these bugs that are so
fiercely held like a security blanket are often ones with relatively
or even feature requests disguised as bugs.
"When I do X, then Y, then Z, it would be nice if there
was an option to Q directly from the dialog box."
Well yeah, it would be nice, but it's not in the product specification,
we have no research data to indicate that adding the Q option to the dialog
box won't create confusion or
there is a significant body
of users who want a Q option
on that dialog box in the first place.
Here is a citation:
We have a considerable bug backlog here,
and it looks like we're about a week behind,
but I suspect there's a lot of bug-hugging hiding in these
We plan on working with programmers over the next week
to get these numbers to be more realistic.
The term was coined by a manager here at Microsoft only recently,
so it's not really Microspeak yet because it hasn't demonstrated
any staying power.
I'll file it under Proto-Microspeak.