Jul 19 2010

Self-destructive Tendencies and Root Cause Analysis

Category: Software DevelopmentPhil @ 12:01 am

One of my favor blogs, 37Signals, had an interesting post. It quoted Ed Catmull, President of Pixar, on the topic of creative vision and leadership. The full interview can be read here; it is actually rather interesting. What caught my attention was the quote concerning self-destructive tendencies, “if everyone is trying to prevent error, it screws things up. It’s better
to fix problems than to prevent them
“.

Unfortunately, it seems that in our current economic environment, it is more important to prevent mistakes rather than take action to address the underlying problems. This strategy can even be taken to the extreme, putting so many gates into the process, that it actually makes it impossible to move forward. It becomes difficult to fix existing issues and nearly impossible to development new functionality. The number of signatures and the amount of evidence required to prevent errors has become more of an accountability tool, rather than a quality tool.

Writing this post made me think of another technique that we always seem to overlook, the “5 Whys“. If you are like me and have not looked at this lately, it is perfect time for a refresher! Just click the link!

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