Defects as Cooperation Tool

Is it a reflection of the sad state of a team when Defects have to be used as a cooperation tool? I was recently involved in a very large project, comprised of around 600 contractors. What happens when a team this large is trying to move with each sub-team having its own priorities? Emails and voice mails get ignored. Cubicle drive-by’s are no longer successful in getting much needed attention.

Enter defect tracking tool. Submit a defect with Critical severity and it gets noticed. It gets highlighted at the triage meetings. Suddenly you get some attention. Project managers from the two teams begin a negotiation. Yes, you get your request fulfilled.

Now this is where things get interesting. Developer catch on to this pretty quick. Now if they want your cooperation, all they do is enter a highly visible defect.

Defect multiply. Defects lose their true meaning. Defects start getting reassigned. Now the company has to hire more consultants to keep up with the increased traffic of defects and implement more processes around “how and when to enter defects”.

Unfortunately in such large teams, the churn continues, and newer team members need to get trained in the “defect processes” and mistakes keep getting repeated.

The circle of defects continues.

This entry was written by Amit, posted on December 5, 2006 at 11:12 am, filed under Uncategorized. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink.