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Root Cause Analysis


Have you ever watched Air Disasters television show?  If you have then you see that all too often the reason for the disaster is a series of events that lead to a disaster.  Some of these miss-steps are quite small, but when added to the other miss-steps, ends up in disaster.  This is often the problem with root cause analysis in the business setting.  The sense of urgency often stops the exploration at the most immediate finding.  Even the 5-Why approach may be too short of an exploration.  Combinations of preceding events influence the outcome which is not taken into consideration.

Another problem with root cause analysis in the business setting is often the business processes.  First, there may be the little documented process (pilot documentation such as checklists and flight data recorder) in the organization so exploring the root cause via paper trail or process structures may not be possible.  We then must resort to word of mouth … Continue reading


There is More than One Way


I am writing this post after a discussion with some people on product development and project management processes.  The discussion took a turn to process intensive approach or not to use a defined process.  There are many ideas of how this can work, for example the Capability Maturity Model Integration is an example of the technical or knowledge areas and levels of associated processes.  This document describes the many processes and individual capabilities from each process area, for example, requirements management contains a number of specific goals with a number of specific practices.  I was reminded in this discussion, of a time when I was developing and documenting the processes for a department.  For each activity, we had an objective.  There was a reason for the activity and if the reason was not valuable, then that task was eliminated from the workflow. That seldom happened.  However, there were some steps in the work that were fairly common and we … Continue reading


Success and Back-up Plans (Plan B)


I recently noticed a LinkedIn post on success and failure that led me to the need to comment.  The quote from the article that gave me some consternation:

The minute you have a back-up plan, you’ve admitted you’re not going to succeed. ~Elizabeth Holmes Theranos Founder & CEO

When I am driving a car, I keep in mind I may have to find an alternate path, lest in my obstinacy I run headlong into another car that shows up on my side of the road.  This was part of my driver’s education so many years ago and it is generally sound advice.  Back-up plans (plan b) are more akin to this type of action than admitting failure or that failure is possible.  Back up plans can be alternative routes to our objective.  If we extend the above argument a bit further, my plan is to take interstate 85 to Greensboro, and if that is blocked due to … Continue reading


Onboarding part 2


This is the second part of our onboarding writing.  We have seen many opportunities for growth and development in this area. In fact, the onboarding process is where those who know little about us, how we work and what we value, are guided toward a fit in our organization.  Our candidate selection and vetting process provided us with the ability to determine which candidate would most likely be a fit. However we have not completed the process with the acquisition, we have only completed the selection.

 Corporate Culture and Growth

If we value the present corporate culture, we must take steps to assimilate the new talent in such a way that our culture remains strong.  If we are moving how we work to some future state (as in continuous improvement along with personal mastery) we work to guide the new talent to this future state.  The talent we are bringing to our organization may now know what is expected of … Continue reading


Risk Probability, Severity and ….


When we discuss risk in project management circles, we often discuss it in terms of severity and probability.  There is much more to risk and how it impacts and the implications it may have on our project.

 Risk Probability and Severity

As the saw goes, few things are certain, except death and taxes.  The more probable or more likely the malady is to come to fruition the greater attention we may need to give to this potentiality.  We couple this probability with severity.  We all know about risk severity.  The greater the negative impact on our project, the greater the severity.  The greater the severity, the greater attention we may have to pay to this risk. When coupled with probability we have a method for prioritizing project risks.  However, what you rarely see in many a project book is the discussion of the level of controllability. 

Risk Controllability 

Controllability is our ability to adapt accordingly to the risk when it … Continue reading


Onboarding can be Costly


Onboarding Defined

First, we should probably explain or define onboarding.  Onboarding is the collection of activities associated with our present staff socializing and training our newly acquired talent.  The older employees take time out of their day to demonstrate behaviors and pass on specific knowledge and skills.

Onboarding New Hires

Recently a person that I know was hired for a job at a company.  This person has no experience with this company or this industry.  They do not know the clientele and they do not know their coworkers.  Many of you probably recognize this way of indoctrination to the company.  It often conjures the images of being thrown to the wolves.

This person is spending time going through the company training.  The thing is, the company training is not so much training as it a ride along with people that just go through the paces of doing the work, not explaining the reasons behind the actions.  There is no demonstration … Continue reading


Scrum and Merged Roles


Is it okay to merge scrum team roles, for example can the scrum master also be the product owner. Our experience suggests, merging the roles of the team members in scrum is not a good solution. Besides a dilution of focus, there is a compromise in objectivity.


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