Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How much time does it take to change an error message?

When I was writing error messages for my company, my Program Manager asked me to change one error message. The original error message was "Forgot your username and password?", and I had to change it to "Forgot your username or password?".

How much time do you think you will take to do this task?

The process for that was,

  1. Create an issue in the bug software for this, and fill many details like Issue Description, Issue Type, Assigned To, Severity, Priority, Release, Reproduction steps, and hundred other fields.
  2. The project was in maintenance mode. So, we don't have any major release, and we have only Quick Fix Releases. For that, we need to get approval from the manager for all the issues. So, request the manager to approve this issue for Quick Fix Release
  3. Resynchronize the code base to the source control, and check out the corresponding file.
  4. Change "Forgot your username and password?" to "Forgot your username or password?"
  5. Send the code to the reviewer and ask them to review.
  6. Since this is change in the text that is visible to the user, it has to be approved by the Program Manager also. So, send the code to the Program Manager, and get it reviewed.
  7. If both are fine with the code, send the code to the tester to test it.
  8. Tester has to resynchronize the entire code, and apply this code, build it, and follow all the steps mentioned in the issue.
  9. If the tester is satisfied with the fix, then he/she approves the code.
  10. If the manager has not yet approved the issue, wait till he/she approves the issue for Quick Fix Release.
  11. Check whether anybody has checked in since last checkout. If there are no conflicts, check in the code. If there are conflicts, resolve all the conflicts and go to step 5.
  12. Update the bug database for this issue, make it resolved, and assign the issue to the tester.
  13. The tester resynchronizes the entire code, builds it, and does all the steps mentioned in the issue. If there is any problem, it would be reassigned to the developer, and he/she will have to debug the issue, and if there is any problem with the code base, then go to step 3. If there is no problem with the code, then the tester will close the issue.

Fortunately, it was internal product, and we supported only English. If it were external product, there would have been atleast 10 other steps like, Security checks, Verifying the error messages in all the languages etc.

Changing an error message is not that much trivial.

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