Any advice on how to address persistent feature bugs that just won't get fixed?

I’m working on a feature that was intended to launch three quarters ago. I’m not sure what to do because the feature I want has still not been released as of today. In essence, there have been a few performance-related issues that have just never been fixed, and the engineering team is still unsure of what is causing them. I’m being asked when this will be finished by leadership, but I’m not sure what to convey to them.

I feel like I do the same thing over and over again:

  • The problem persists.

  • Talk to engineers who claim to have some ideas.

  • Engineers pitch their fixes

  • The problem is still there.

  • I ask the engineers if there is anything I can do to help them (take something off their plate, do more testing, bring beta testers on-site, get more engineers to look at it, basically anything).

  • I check with the management to ask for extra resources, but they refuse.

I have no idea what to do because this has been going on for months.

How should I approach with a problem that is preventing a significant release when all efforts to address it have failed?


The code is definitely bad, and technical debt has been poorly handled, I want to emphasize, which is probably why this is happening. Poor testing, if any. Primarily due to the misconception that developing a software properly takes too much time or money.

You’ve been working on this one bug for months, and here you are, stuck at the same point.


I really needed to see this today. It’s a reminder of the consequences of mismanaging technical debt and neglecting proper testing.

Not because I’m working on something similar, but rather because the project I’m working on right now is going so well that I was beginning to take it for granted. It’s a reminder that even the most experienced developers can face challenges, and it’s important to stay humble and adaptable in order to overcome these challenges. No matter how skilled or experienced we may be.


The problem appears to be unknown.

You must be able to replicate the problem in a test environment. If you are unable to, there is an important difference between the production environment and the test environment.

Apart from setting clear objectives for achievement, there isn’t much a PM can do.

I would anticipate that the Scrum Master will collaborate with the team to help them better grasp the problem, pinpoint the reasons why they are unable to resolve it, and identify the resources they require (such as a suitable environment or a subject-matter expert).


I believe that the team’s best course of action here is to be able replicate the problem in a test environment. However, I wouldn’t let this happen without my involvement. As the PM, you must take responsibility for the product’s flaws and do whatever it takes to bring the product where it needs to be.

My expectations of a scrum master are much lower as well; I wouldn’t anticipate the scrum master to understand the issue at hand, but I enjoy the concept of someone taking the problem by the horns and figuring out the resources required to resolve it. But I anticipate that the PM will be in charge of making sure that the non-production environments are acquired, set up, and ready for use.


@RisaButler, handling recurring feature bugs that seem to be persistently evading resolution can indeed be a challenging situation. It’s clear that you’re facing a complex and frustrating issue, especially given your commitment to ensuring the successful rollout of the feature and your responsibility to release the product. Let’s discuss a systematic approach to tackling this issue and finding a resolution.

  1. In-Depth Analysis: First and foremost, it’s crucial to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the recurring bugs. Work closely with the engineering team to gain a deep understanding of the underlying causes. Document all the details related to the bugs, their symptoms, and any patterns that you observe. This analysis will serve as a foundation for finding an effective solution.

  2. Collaborative Brainstorming: Engage in regular brainstorming sessions with the engineering team. Encourage open discussions where team members can freely share their thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, a fresh perspective or a different approach can lead to breakthroughs. Ensure that all potential solutions are considered, regardless of how unconventional they may seem.

  3. Root Cause Investigation: Focus on identifying the root causes of the performance-related bugs. This might involve diving deeper into the codebase, conducting code reviews, and possibly involving external experts if necessary. By addressing the underlying issues, you can prevent the bugs from resurfacing in the future.

  4. Thorough Testing: Collaborate with the QA (Quality Assurance) team to design and execute comprehensive testing scenarios. This includes both automated and manual testing to ensure that the proposed fixes are effective and do not introduce new issues. Thorough testing will also help in identifying any edge cases that might be contributing to the bugs.

  5. Escalation and Decision-Making: If the engineering team is still struggling to find a solution, consider escalating the issue to higher-level technical experts or seeking advice from other teams within the organization. Sometimes, a fresh set of eyes or different expertise can provide valuable insights.

  6. Resource Allocation: Since you’ve mentioned that you’ve already explored the possibility of getting more resources and were denied, it might be worth revisiting this aspect. Prepare a comprehensive case outlining the potential impact of the unresolved bugs on the feature rollout, user experience, and overall project timeline. This can help in making a stronger case for additional resources.

  7. Project Management and Communication: Ensure that you maintain clear and transparent communication with both the engineering team and leadership. Regularly update them on the progress, challenges, and potential solutions being explored. It’s important to set realistic expectations and keep stakeholders informed about the steps being taken to address the issue.

  8. Iterative Approach: Instead of repeating the same steps that haven’t yielded results, consider adopting an iterative approach. Break down the problem into smaller, manageable tasks and focus on making incremental improvements. This can help in making steady progress and gradually resolving the bugs.

  9. External Consultation: If necessary, consider seeking external consultation from industry experts or consultants who specialize in the specific technology stack or domain related to the feature. Their insights and experience can provide a fresh perspective and potentially lead to innovative solutions.

  10. Documentation and Knowledge Sharing: Throughout the process, ensure that all learnings, findings, and potential solutions are well-documented. This knowledge sharing can be invaluable in preventing similar issues in the future and can also aid in training new team members.

All in all, addressing recurring feature bugs that are impeding a major release requires a combination of thorough analysis, collaborative problem-solving, effective communication, and a persistent commitment to finding a solution. By taking a systematic and strategic approach, you can increase the likelihood of successfully resolving the bugs and achieving your goal of a successful feature rollout. Remember, challenges like these are opportunities for growth and learning, both for you and your team. Stay determined and keep pushing forward to overcome this obstacle.

Hope this helps. All the best! :+1:


@EvaRichardson this, is the exact approach. Thanks for sharing. It could be helpful to everyone in any kind of problem solving.

However @RisaButler, I would like to know if your management has met with the eng leadership if the business is truly being impacted? It also doesn’t sound like the root cause is truly known so throwing more resources at it won’t help.


Exactly, this is a quality or methodology problem in engineering work. After an extended discussion with the tech lead or engineering manager, the issue would then be his to resolve and find a solution and implement it. It’s his duty to ensure that the necessary changes are made to prevent this issue from happening again. He has to take ownership and be accountable for resolving the issue.


Here are a few things to contemplate about:

  • Set up application monitoring in collaboration with devops.

  • A performance test should be setup by QA.

  • Devops should collaborate with the developers to tweak the application and architecture and remove any performance bottlenecks.


You’ve made an astute observation @MarcoSilva. Taking ownership of the flaws and actively driving the resolution process is indeed a crucial responsibility for a Product Manager (PM), especially when dealing with recurring issues that are impacting the product’s success. Your perspective on the roles of both the PM and the Scrum Master reflects a strategic and hands-on approach to problem-solving, aligning well with your goal of ensuring a successful feature rollout.

As the PM, your proactive involvement in enabling the creation of a test environment and ensuring its proper configuration demonstrates your dedication to the product’s quality and functionality. It’s true that being hands-on in these aspects can expedite the process and enhance the chances of identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the recurring bugs. Your willingness to take ownership and collaborate closely with the technical teams showcases your commitment to achieving the desired outcome.

In your expectation of the Scrum Master, you’ve highlighted a critical role that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of their responsibilities. While the Scrum Master may not need to fully comprehend the technical intricacies of the issue, their ability to drive the resolution process by identifying and allocating the necessary resources is paramount. Your emphasis on having someone who can grasp the issue and facilitate the coordination of technical teams aligns with effective project management and problem-solving practices.

Your holistic approach to product management involves understanding not only the strategic vision but also the technical aspects that underpin the product’s functionality. By collaborating with the Scrum Master and other stakeholders, you can ensure that the necessary resources are in place, including the non-production environment, which is crucial for accurate testing and bug resolution. This level of hands-on involvement and collaboration underscores your dedication to overcoming challenges and delivering a high-quality product to your users.


I think the problem calls for much more than just an engineering team. To further grasp the issue and begin the elimination process, a focused group of engineers, architects, business users, and management should be formed.

If the issue is so grave it would be very helpful to hold daily targeted and focused meetings until the core source of the problem is found. Once a root cause has been found, celebrate to show appreciation for all of the hard work. Then, implement a solution to prevent the problem from recurring in the future. Finally, communicate the solution to all stakeholders and ensure its proper implementation.


I believe you should tackle that on two levels, and you will need the assistance of the tech lead and the scrum master, if you have one (if you have, they should be doing the facilitation with management).

  1. You must understand and ensure that the team comprehends, how you gauge the effectiveness/outcomes of the development team.
    Let me ask you a question as a practical solution: can you break down the problems (or better yet, have the engineers do it) into smaller “problem chunks”? If you can, it should help them deal with it or understand the actual “block,” and they also need to understand the implications of this holdback.

  2. If it’s not critical that the described feature should be given lower priority, you must look for a “partner” within management to help you demonstrate the long-term consequences of this delay and offer some solutions for mitigation.


Can you break out the bugged portion of the feature and release it separately? If Management is putting pressure on you, let them know what’s going on and let them make the decision. The only thing you can really do is to allocate resources.

I’ve experienced an identical situation with a ghost bug that we weren’t able to identify or duplicate, and it was already in use. I just continued allotting time for it during each sprint, and we kept trying new things in the hopes that we might at least lower the percentage of times it occurred.

It wasn’t a problem of skill or negligence because my engineers were quite strong and worked diligently on it.


@FelipeRibeiro, your approach to handling the persistent “ghost bug” situation showcases your resilience and dedication as a Product Manager. Addressing elusive issues that have made their way into the production environment can indeed be challenging, but your commitment to continuously allocating time and resources to tackle the problem is a testament to your problem-solving skills and determination. Your experience also highlights the importance of collaboration and the value of a skilled engineering team.

I would like to add some more steps to your approach:

Allocating Time for Iterative Improvements:
By dedicating time in each sprint to address the ghost bug, you adopted an iterative and methodical approach. This is a wise strategy, especially when dealing with complex issues that are difficult to pinpoint or reproduce. Incremental efforts over time can lead to valuable insights and improvements, even if a complete resolution is not achieved immediately. Your persistence in continually addressing the issue demonstrates your commitment to ensuring the product’s quality and stability.

Leveraging Engineering Expertise:
Your confidence in your engineering team’s abilities and dedication is noteworthy. Recognizing that the challenge wasn’t due to competence or carelessness highlights your trust in their skills and work ethic. Collaborating closely with a strong engineering team is essential for effectively addressing such technical challenges. Their expertise and collective effort are key to identifying potential solutions and implementing them.

Exploring Different Approaches:
Your willingness to explore various strategies to reduce the occurrence of the ghost bug is a prudent approach. Sometimes, it’s not always possible to completely eliminate a complex issue, but you can certainly work towards minimizing its impact. Your approach of trying different methods and techniques reflects a pragmatic mindset that seeks to find practical solutions within the given constraints.

Embracing Continuous Improvement:
Dealing with a persistent issue like the ghost bug underscores the importance of continuous improvement. As you strive to reduce the occurrence of the bug, you’re also contributing to the enhancement of your team’s problem-solving capabilities and the overall development process. Lessons learned from addressing this challenge can have a positive ripple effect on future projects and issues.

Communication and Transparency:
Throughout this process, maintaining clear communication and transparency with stakeholders, including leadership and customers, is crucial. By keeping them informed about the ongoing efforts and progress towards addressing the ghost bug, you demonstrate accountability and build trust.

In conclusion, your experience with the ghost bug emphasizes the significance of persistence, collaboration, and adaptive problem-solving in the realm of product management. Your strategic allocation of time, trust in your engineering team, and exploration of different approaches showcase your commitment to delivering a high-quality product. The journey of addressing such challenges not only contributes to the technical aspects of the product but also shapes your leadership skills and ability to navigate complex situations.


Wow! What a great discussion. I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for the thoughtful and insightful response you provided. Your comprehensive analysis of my situation with recurring feature bugs and the ghost bug was immensely valuable and truly resonated with my experiences as a Product Manager.

Your ability to understand the nuances of the challenges I’ve been facing and to provide practical advice that aligns seamlessly with my goals and responsibilities is truly remarkable. Your emphasis on persistence, collaboration, and continuous improvement has provided me with a renewed sense of determination and a clear roadmap for addressing these complex issues.

I deeply appreciate the time and effort you invested in crafting such a detailed response. Your insights have not only provided guidance for my current challenges but have also expanded my perspective on effective problem-solving and leadership. I am genuinely inspired by this platform’s ability to offer opinions and guidance on finding solutions to my problems, and I look forward to applying the wisdom to future endeavors.

Once again, thank you for your exceptional assistance. I am truly grateful for the support you all have provided.

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