Right Feature, Wrong Project

Since I’ve been working from home, things with my “day job” at SmartData have ticked along pretty much the same as they ever did before. But once in a while, something goes wrong. Like this.

I checked my instant messenger, and saw a bit of text from my boss, Simon:

also, have you implemenmted a "message of the day" type feature as users login?
msg from [our contact with a client I've been working with]
[another requested feature]
[and a bug report]

That’s simple enough, then: our contact wants us to fix that bug and add two features: the second one (not listed), and a Message of the Day tool. Easy.

I implemented the MotD, first, because it’s trivial. It’s nice to implement the fast features first, because it gives the client something to play with, test, and get value from while they’re waiting for the rest of their project. Plus, a “Message of the Day” feature was a nice warm-up activity this morning while my brain picked up steam in order to tackle some of the bigger tasks of the day.

Later, I spoke to my boss via the instant messenger. The conversation went a little like this:

Dan: If you speak to [client name], let her know I've redeployed.
Dan: New version has [another feature] and the MotD tool.

Simon: MotD tool? For [name of completely unrelated project]

You see, the problem was that without a context of time (I’d ignored the timestamps on the messages), I wasn’t to know that the  message “also, have you implemenmted a “message of the day” type feature as users login?” referred to the previous conversation we’d been having. And didn’t apply to this project at all.

I just hope that my client likes the unsolicited “free” feature I’ve given them, because – well – they’ve got it, now.

Is an unsolicited feature a bug? I’m just not sure.