Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whose Fault Is It?

I recently read on a newsgroup about different opinions who is at fault and therefore responsible. The issue was about bugs which are discovered at the end of the iteration or during a following one.

One position was the following. This is the nature of software development and bugs do come up and they should be handled like user stories and be processed in an upcoming iteration. The other was that the developers messed up and since it is their fault they have to fix the bugs in their spare time.

What does each statement mean? In the first it means that the customer will get less value in subsequent iterations as they include bug fixes. The developers get immunity and are not being held accountable for their failures. The customer suffers.
Where as the second one is on the side of the customer as it clearly pushes the fault onto the developers and they need to fix it in their spare time which means long nights and/or week-ends.

First it should be differentiated whether this is a green field project or an existing legacy system which by its very nature tends to be more brittle. Regardless, in my opinion both approaches are too polarized and one approach possible illegal in certain countries. The high goal should be a customer getting all the value they can expect in a fair way and programmers which can have a social life. Another solution to the problem is required.

In the last couple of month I've been reading quite a lot about Lean and how Toyota achieves to make $16B profit while the US car makers are asking for federal help. Lean has some great approaches and one of them is the 5 Whys or Root Cause Analysis. The idea is to ask Why 5 times and the fifth answer provides the root cause. By fixing the root cause you fix all discovered symptoms and the problem should disappear for good.

So, I applied the 5 Whys in retrospective to a project I've been working on a while ago and which had exactly those problems.

Q: Why do we have bugs at the end of the iteration?
A: QA does not accept some user stories as they don't fulfill the acceptance criteria.

Q: Why do the user stories don't fulfill the acceptance criteria?
A: QA and domain expert don't have enough time to specify them on time and therefore the developers don't have access to them during development.

Q: Why do QA and the domain expert have not enough time?
A: They work on other project as well and share their time between those.

Q: Why do the work in several projects at the same time?
A: Matrix Management

Q: Why Matrix Management
A: Upper Management believes that this improves efficiency.

With this process we were able to identify one root cause -- Matrix Management. By removing this cause we should see improvement. In this scenario the solution is rather a structural -- I dare to say political -- then technical. Upper Management needs to be convinced that having dedicated QA and domain experts per project is necessary. Don't assume that this will be easy. I strongly recommend to provide hard data and generate some statistics describing the current situation and how the change would improve the productivity.

I want to re-emphasize the connection between Matrix Management and the problem of not having dedicated resources per team. This was obvious after answer number three but the root cause is the management structure. With that knowledge, you most likely will be able to identify and address further issues.

Once you get this sorted out and you see improvement don't let inertia slow you down. Look out for the next problem and apply the 5 Whys once more.

Just a final thought at the end. Often, if too many people work on too many projects in parallel. This is a symptom for prioritization gone wrong. Fear of postponing the wrong projects causes that more projects are underway as should.

21 comments:

Jason Yip said...

Note that Toyota uses matrixed management so it's a bit more complicated.

Whose fault is it? (aka The Five Whos) is definitely not the best way to think about things though.

Ralph Jocham said...

In Lean motion is one of the seven wastes. For software development it translates to task switching which is accepted, even wanted in matrix management.
Quick question: Does Toyota use matrix management in their software development?
I was not intending to use the 5 Whys as a finger pointing tool but to show that the root cause can be completely different and one should not blame without proper investigation, but rather drill down. For that the 5 Whys are perfect. The root cause could as well have been a badly configured tool.

Johanna Rothman said...

Ralph, it's not matrix management that's the problem. It's the fact each manager is optimizing at his or her own level, and not optimizing at the level above (managing the project portfolio). When managers make decisions that make *their* lives easier, without considering the rest of the organization, that's not lean. And, it's not portfolio management.

Ralph Jocham said...

Johanna, I agree about the problem with local optimization and not seeing the whole with looking at the value stream. Also, the matrix management example was unlucky; matrix management itself is not necessarily bad. However, it is often a indicator for bad prioritization and management. The root-cause should have been the portfolio management. Lesson learned ... ;)

cheap wow gold said...

It was not long cheap wow goldbefore some one knocked atwow gold cheap wow gold for salethe house-door and called, open the door, dear children, your mother is here, and has brought something back with her for each of you. But the little wow goldkids knew that it was the wolf, by the rough voice. We will wow power leveling not open the door, cried they, you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice, but your voice is rough, you are the wolf.

Then the wolf went World Of Warcraft Goldaway to a shopkeeper and bought himself a great cheapest wow goldlump of chalk, ate this and made gold4power.com his voice soft with it. The he came back, knocked at the door of the house, and world of warcraft gold salecalled, open the door, dear children, your mother is here and Cheapest Wow Goldhas brought something back with her for each of you.

wow gold said...

Weekends to peopleig2tmean that they can have a two-day wowgold4europe good rest. For example, people gameusdcan go out to enjoy themselves or get meinwowgoldtogether with relatives and friends to talk with each storeingameother or watch interesting video tapes with the speebiewhole family.
Everyone spends agamegoldweekends in his ownmmoflyway. Within two days,some people can relax themselves by listening to music, reading novels,or watchingogeworld films. Others perhaps are more active by playing basketball,wimming ormmorpgvipdancing. Different people have different gamesavorrelaxations.
I often spend weekends withoggsalemy family or my friends. Sometimes my parents take me on a visit to their old friends. Sometimesgamersell I go to the library to study or borrow some books tommovirtexgain much knowledge. I also go to see various exhibition to broadenrpg tradermy vision. An excursion to seashore or mountain resorts is my favorite way of spending weekends. Weekends are always enjoyable for me.
igxe swagvaultoforu wowgold-usaignmax wowgoldlivebrogame thsaleGoldRockUbrogameswagvaultgoldsoonoforuigxethsale

lady said...

I like the side of the article, and very like your blog, to write well and hope to continue their efforts, we can see more of your articles. ed hardy clothes. After reading this article has strong feelings, the future will be ed hardy womens longsleeve.ed hardy longsleeve
ed hardy hoodies
ed hardy jeans
ed hardy
ed hardy clothing
ed hardy t-shirts
cheap ed hardy clothing
ed-hardy.co.uk
ed hardy shirts
wholesale ed hardy clothing
ed hardy outerwear
ed hardy mens outerwear
ed hardy womens outerwear
ed hardy clothes
ed hardy boots
ed hardy outerwear
ed hardy hoodies
ed hardy Jeans
ed hardy hoodies
ed hardy jackets
ed hardy womens jackets
ed hardy mens jackets
ed hardy bags
ed hardy trousers
ed hardy shoes
ed hardy longsleeve
ed hardy mens longsleeve
ed hardy womens longsleeve
ed hardy jackets
ed hardy suits
ed hardy clothing
ed hardy shoes
ed hardy jeans
ed hardy boots
ed hardy mens sweater
ed hardy womens cotton
ed hardy womens boots
ed hardy
ed hardy womens clothing

nike said...

Nike shoes
puma shoes
Cheap nike shoes
NIKE’s headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon.Nike may be one of the youngest of the major brands, but it is the dominant brand around the world.In 1963-1964 when University of Portland track coach, Bill Bowerman, and Phil Knight, a mid-distance runner joined forces to import and provide low-cost, high tech running shoes from Japan in order to provide alternatives to the German-dominated athletic shoe market.
Discount nike shoes
Wholesale nike shoes
Nike shox r4
Operating under the name Blue Ribbon Sports, Bowerman and Knight began to sell the Japanese Onitsuke Tiger (Nike SB) running shoes. Jeff Johnson, a former rival of Knight, joins the company in 1965 as their first full-time salesperson and sells shoes from the back of his van at local and regional track meets until opening Blue Ribbon Sports’ first retail outlet at 3107 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica California.
nike shox shoes
nike air max
nike running shoes
The Superstar is one of the first designs the Adidas manufactured.The tongue is leather on the outside and cloth of the inside and is thick enough to feel padded, but thin enough to not feel like an obstruction. The heel of the shoe holds up well the curve of the front is great for any kind of feet.
cheap puma shoes
discount puma shoes
nike air max tn
Therefore, Adidas is a collection of trust and respect. Product and marketing initiatives at Adidas primarily focus on five global priorities: football, running, training, basketball and Adidas Originals sneakers. Adidas sports the recognizable logo of three slanted parallel bars of ascending height.
puma mens shoes
puma running shoes
wholesale puma shoes
Everybody like beauty, which is quite commen, especailly womens. Welcom to our store which is focused on sellingghd hair straighteners mk4and hair straightners. For women, especially the young girls, this ghd iv styler hair straightener is the best choice. ghd hair straightners is famouse for the pretty outlook and the top quality. The price of this cheap ghd hair straighteners is acceptable and rational. Ed Hardy Jeans, Ed Hardy Hoodies ed hardy shirts ed hardy clothes ed hardy clothing
ed hardy trousers

qingcheng said...

Your blog is very good, it's the best blog I've ever seen, thank you!
By the way, do you like polo shirts, which are very chic, especially the polo t shirts, I love them very much. I also like playing tennis rackets, it can keep healthy, what do you like to do?
polo t shirts women
polo t shirts on sale
polo t shirts for women
polo shirts on sale
polo shirts men
men's polo shirt
men polo shirt
mens polo shirts
mens polo shirt
cheap polo shirts
discount polo shirts
men's polo shirts
women's polo shirts
cheap tennis racket
discount tennis racket
prince tennis racquet
head tennis rackets
wilson tennis racket
babolat tennis racquet

janewangleilei said...

You can have a look at it.
jordan shoes
Wow.
newest jordans
jordan 7
Wonderful!
air yeezy
jordan true flight
If you like,you can contact us.
jordan 3
jordan 4
We offer different styles.
jordan 1
jordan 2
Thanks.
jordan 5
jordan ajf shoes
There are cheap shoes to choose
jordan 6
jordan flight 45
Good quality with low price.
air jordan 2010
Air Jordan 2009
Enjoy it!
jumpman
jordan 28

aiai said...

For a pair of sleek gloves that would look great with your suit, pick up the Ross Gloves Italian Sheepskin Gloves with Cashmere lining. These gloves are perfect for those who live in metropolitan areas
spyder skiwhere the temperatures drop in the winter because these gloves are lined with extra warm and soft cashmere for that added layer of spyderwarmth and insulation. The premium Italian lambskin will mold to your hands in a close fit and the slim lines of this glove are convenient enough to slip into your pockets when not neededspyder jacket.

For a great pair of gloves that will keep up with you on the slopes even spyder ski wearin the harshest of temperatures, pick up the Burton' Gore-Tex Under Gloves for $64.95. The Thermacore insulation on these ski jacketgloves will keep your fingers warm even when the freezing wind and slate beats down on you. spyderThe DryRide Ultrashell combined with the Gore-Tex Insert ensures that nothing will get your fingers wet. spyderThe hidden heater and vent pocket stashes extra warmth on the cold days and dumps spyder jacketsexcess heat in the spring. spyder ski wearIf you are worried about your goggles getting steamed up, these gloves help solve that problem with the soft chamois goggle wipe which will keep your vision clear.

贝贝 said...

The Tax Return Crack-Up<3>
Granted, there are usuallyMicrosoft Office 2010write-ups when presidential contenders make their tax returns available, but the coverage falls far short of the Office 2010
full court press (pardon the pun) that the Clintons have received. What's Microsoft Office 2007different now?Office 2007One possibility is that most upper middle class Democrats, and therefore most Microsoft OfficeOffice 2007 keyeditors and reporters of our nation's big papers as well as Office 2007 downloadtelevision producers, are Obama supporters who think that Hillary should hurry up Office 2007 Professionaland drop out of the race already.Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010Whom elite liberals are pulling for really does shape political coverage in ways

Windows 7 Key said...

Recently i find a website that sell,Windows 7 Activation Key it makes me think i'm so Office 2010 Activation Key lucky a person. Compared with the Office 2007 Activation Key other sites i had bought Keys before, Windows 7 Keygen this one may be more welcomed Office 2010 Keygen by people in my opinion. For the website Office 2007 Keygen looks brief and the products are good Windows 7 Generator and genuine. Furthermore, it is professional and you can feel the warm-heart Office 2010 Generator of the service there. They will Windows 7 Upgrade help you solve the Office 2007 Generator problems you have patiently both Office 2010 Upgrade before and after. The delivery of Office 2007 Upgrade the products is very fast and you needn't worry Windows 7 Product Key about it. The most important is that the price on the web is Office 2010 Product Key reasonable, and you will be always have discounts, it is most Windows 7 Key attractive for me. If you're interested in this website, Office 2010 Key you can go and have a look.

youjioa rs said...

It is better to give than to receive. It is easy to be wise after the event.

Hey , what you say is really informative and funny, i like it and hope for more update.buy runescape gold

I think you just did a right thing to make this choice, rs gold you know that's really funny and i am sure you will not regret.

runescape gold

love supra said...

They are all beautiful and fashionable i have to say, and my friends told me they are of good quality as well. I have not see post good enough like yours here.
More tags:
wow gold | cheap wow gold | buy cheap wow gold | buy wow gold

Mark Rainmanmark said...

I liked your article, I will share your article to everyone!!




RS gold|Diablo 3 Gold|Buy WOW Gold|WoW Gold

dolinna said...

That is really cool. Thanks for finding it. Some really good ideas there, this is going to be a real time sink. I am a china tour lover,You can learn more: China tourism | China travel service | China vacation packages

Stephen Donovan said...

The PMP Certification establishes a common language among project managers and helps each other work within a common framework. Once you have the PMP, you need to consider how you're applying the processes, tools, and techniques to projects. I took a training course for my preparation in http://www.pmstudy.com and got ready for the exam on day 5!

escortbayan said...

Seçkin escortların bir arada olduğu bayan escort - kadıköy escort - fenerbahçe escort - escort ataşehir - escort kartal - maltepe bayan - escort beylikdüzü - bursa escort - halkalı escort - avcılar escort - Escort Haritası ziyaret ederek, ihtiyacınıza ve bulunduğunuz mekana uygun bir escort düşünebilirsiniz. - travesti - travesti - kadıköy travesti - feneryolu escort - istanbul escort - kadıköy escort - travesti - kadıköy travesti - travesti - Eskort sitelerini reklam amaçlı kullanan escortlar vardır. kadıköy escort, kızıltoprak escort, bayan escortlar, escort.com sitesine düzenli olarak yeni escortlar reklam veya ilan vermektedirler. Bu yüzden siz de aradığınız kriterlerde ve yeni fiyatlarla uygun fiyatlarla escort bulabileceksiniz. Eskort (escort bayan) tamamen sizin kontrolünüzde olup saatlik ya da belirli bir süreliğine sizin hizmetinize tabi olan özel bayanlardır. www.escortbayanescort.com sitesinden siz de aradığınız biçimde, fikirlerinize uygun escort - feneryolu escort - kadıköy escort bayanlar - escort - bayan - bayan escort - escort bayan - bayan escort - - ataşehir escort - kadıköy bayan escort - escortbayanescort - escortbayan - bayan partner - escortbayanescort.com escort hizmetleri.

escortbayan said...

ataşehir escort - escort bayanlar ataşehir - ataşehir escortları - kadikoy escort - kadıköy escort - kızıltoprak escort - ataşehir escort - ataşehir bayan escort - escort ataşehir - bayan ataşehir escort - halkalı escort - beylikdüzü escort - izmir escort - izmir urla escort - güzelbahçe izmir escort - bornova escort - izmir tire escort - izmir escort bayanlar - izmir kızları - escort bayan - travesti - kadıköy travesti - kadıkoy travesti - kadikoy travesti - travesti kadıköy - ataşehir travesti - halkalı travesti - beylikdüzü travesti - beylikdüzü travesti

Learn Chinese language on hanbridgemandarin said...

The best place to study Chinese online is in China. However, we understand that it isn't always possible to move here to study Chinese language. The next best thing is to study with our experienced teachers in a virtual classroom. Online students enjoy the same excellent way of mandarin Chinese online lessons and custom designed courseware that we provide for our face to face clients.