Product Development January 17, 2020

I had my first major screw up recently.


I wanna share this because I think the IH community could benefit from celebrating our failures once in a while. Failures and mistakes are unavoidable and can be great learning opportunities.

I have an app for people looking to improve their mental health, Bold CBT. Users complete exercises and write private journal entries. I recently shipped a bug that deleted all of one user's entries :( . That user messaged me to let me know how upset they were. I felt terrible.

However! That user did also say that they would continue using the app because it helps them so much. So while I feel horrible that the user lost their entries, I'm warmed that my product is good enough that the impacted user would continue using the app. Just gotta keep pushing on.

  1. 3

    Wow thanks for sharing! It's great to hear about these situations because stuff like this always happens.

    Downloading your app now - looks really cool. I'm a big fan of traditional CBT.

    1. 1

      WOAH - what an onboarding process. I loved that.

      1. 1

        haha thank you :D

        definitely lmk if you have any other feedback!

  2. 3

    Any lessons you learned from this? Are you planning on taking any steps to prevent this from happening again?

    1. 4

      Yeah absolutely. I didn't realize why those entries are so important to users. I had one assumption but never really thought too deeply about it. Now I know a bit more. I've added a backup feature to my roadmap and hope to have that rolled out asap.

      It was also incredibly validating to hear that the impacted user would continue using the app. Feels like i'm on the right path.

  3. 2

    Thanks for sharing. There's only one way out of issues like this and you seem to have done it. Be honest, own up and try to learn from it.

    1. 2

      Totally agree. It was tempting to take the easy way out and ignore the problem but I learned way more by embracing it. I appreciate the solidarity :)

  4. 2

    And to have a good strategy for backup and disaster recovery, technical failure alone is one factor, developer error is a likely circumstance.

  5. 2

    It sucks
    Every developer deleted something at some point acedintly.
    Good that it was just for one user

    1. 3

      Truth! Mistakes have been made... I'm not proud of them. ;)

  6. 1

    Unpleasant event but not catastrophic. Just restore the backup from previous night :)

  7. 1

    Maybe the service where you are hosting your DB is doing some sort of backup without you knowing?

  8. 1

    We've all been there and it always painful when that happens. As long as you're learning from experiences like these and factoring that into future releases then you've still got great value from it.

  9. 1

    That sucks, sorry to hear.

    Are the entries stored only locally on the device? Is it worth offering a "backup to the cloud" option?

    A backup option would also serve users who get a new phone.

  10. 2

    This comment was deleted 9 months ago.

    1. 1

      haha yes exactly, this is the tone i'm trying to embrace. I allowed myself a solid 24 hours to feel terrible about the mistake, then embraced everything else that I learned from it.

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