Spoiler alert, the answer involves butterflies and trees.
A: Of course, the answer is No. Sound is vibration, transmitted to our senses and recognized as sound only at our nerve centers – If there be no ears to hear, there be no sound at all.
Q: BUT, when a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no animal is nearby – does it matter?
A: Yes and its impact goes beyond the sleeping caterpillar in its cocoon = Consider the Butterfly effect where a small change at one place can result in large differences somewhere else (the name comes from the example of a hurricane's formation being dependent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before).
Q: When an app crashes in the wild and no developer is nearby, does it create a work item?
A: Sadly, the answer is No. Work items are specific tasks, transmitted to a dev organization and recognized as a work item within an IDE like Visual Studio. If there be no IDEs, there be no work items.
Q: BUT, when an app crashes in the wild and no developer is nearby – does it matter?
A: Yes and its impact goes beyond the individual user inside your app = consider the operational, reputational and social implications of a crushed user and the impact that a small incident in production can have.
A production incident can result in massive user defections, cratered development ROI and operational failure. (Don’t make me go into “for the want of a nail…”)
The material distinction between the hurricane and the “operations storm” is that while we can only forecast the weather, with the right information, development (dare I say “devOps”?) can effect operations through AGILE practices.
A: Of course, it’s the egg. Just ask the dinosaur back in the Triassic Period. The question as to which came first, the chicken egg or the chicken – well that’s a metaphysical question and has no place in a thinly veiled software blog like mine.
Q: Which came first, application development or operations?
A: Of course, it’s application development. Just ask the original time sharing providers back in the 60’s. The question as to which came first, the "development practices that are responsive to operational feedback" or operations is, in fact, one that I’m prepared to answer (as opposed to that chicken/egg deal).
Most applications today are deployed like the proverbial tree in the lonely forest – making no noise (because there are no developers around to listen) but whose crashes often reverberate across operations and then hit development like a hurricane.
Application Analytics is the emerging discipline plus supporting technologies specifically designed to connect application adoption, user behavior and production incidents to development practices, quality and impact.
Application Analytics is the evolutionary trigger that moves “the application” from the Triassic Period into modern times where cloud, mobile, web services and other forces are transforming our ecosystem.
If application analytics isn’t a part of your development process, well…. You just may end up in a mud pit with the rest of the dinosaurs.