You break it the team fixes it

Many teams adopted a policy called “you break it you fix it”. It means that if someone breaks something (red build or bug) then he must fix it himself. This maybe an easy way to manage responsibilities within a software development team.

But in modern agile teams the quality of software and code is the responsibility of the whole team. Beside automated tests quality aware teams do regularly pair programming (maybe even mob programming) and let no line of code goes into the master branch without a code review.
So if something has been broken means that at least the developers involved in pair programming or code review have also direct responsibility for that. With a healthy circulation of pair programming and code reviews breaking something becomes a matter of the whole team.

As a team culture adopting “You break it the team fixes it” instead of “you break it you fix it” has a bunch of benefits for software development teams such:

  • increasing the collective awareness of code quality and the awareness of doing pair programming and code reviews
  • eliminating blaming and finger pointing
  • decreasing the fear of error and  encouraging team members to start challenging tasks such as a complex code refactoring
  • helping new team members to become productive more quickly

“You break it the team fixes it” works well within a team but if you have several teams working on the same software product it still a good practice that every team fixes bugs and red builds it introduced.



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