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For example, company that uses our software suddenly has found a serious bug and can't continue to work. The bug has exposed a big problem in software design and fixing it will take few days. What is the best approach to solve such problems? What developers should do: start to rewrite code to fix the bug, writing a quick hotfix first, etc?

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You should proceed to your backup plan. – user24770 Jul 5 '11 at 22:53
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Your first priority should always be enabling your company to continue doing business. In this case, you should deliver a hot fix to this client ASAP.

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+1 I agree. At the end of the day the immediate concern is parament and if you fix that quickly then do that. However, the refactoring of the code after the hotfix release should be added to any development plan to ensure the current design flaw does not have continuing effects. – dreza Jul 5 '11 at 21:05

The immediate reaction should be to work around the clock to get them past the business-halting bug that was intially causing this. Then once that is fixed, start working on the permanent fix to the bug (often times the first aforementioned step).

If only it stopped there! Then you need to find out why that bug got through QA. Bugs will always get through whatever form of QA you have (whether it's just you, or all the developers, or a separate quality assurance team). But production/business-halting bugs surely should not have got through any form of quality testing.

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For instance: Without code coverage metrics, it's more likely that QA can completely miss testing large sections of code. – C Johnson Jul 5 '11 at 22:05
@C Johnson: great point and exactly a problem that can be easily alleviated. – user29981 Jul 6 '11 at 1:22

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