Waste 2: Over-Engineering
In IT services there is a clamor for process models of all kinds. This is understandable because many activities related to software are mental in nature. Unless there is rigor of a model and a method, quality and repeatability are dicey. But one often sees a swing between two extremes: at one end there is an utter disdain for anything remotely resembling a process and at the other end processes of questionable value proliferate to severely impact production efficiencies. And very quickly disillusionment sets in, strongly reacting to the wisdom of processes.
As mentioned in other posts, right-sizing the processes with their underlying artifacts is crucial to balance the cost and benefit. A small sample of heavy processes: many simple projects can be tracked using a Excel sheet whereas for some reason, a pert/cpm kind of plan is prepared; an estimation model goes into excruciating level of details; defect classification codes confusingly overlap and run into multitude; activity codes on a timesheet are needlessly granular and overlapping; computing dozens of process metrics, not all of them relevant (see below); applying complex prediction models of questionable validity…
For some time, some projects in this organization were scrupulously computing and reporting a commonly-in-use metric of ‘Adherence to Schedule’. A little digging showed the projects were basically streams of defects to be fixed within a few hours to a couple of days at the outer. The status was jointly reviewed by the customer and the software team at the start of the following day and the plan for that day was agreed. If some defect did not get fixed on the previous day for whatever reason, it got done on the next day without generating any heat. The ‘planned completion date’ was being (re)negotiated daily. And a meaningless but feeling-good 100% ‘Adherence to Schedule’ was perpetually reported!
Mindless application of process models and heavy processes are more wide-spread in use than as exceptions. Pruning the processes and their artifacts to fit the purpose significantly cuts out waste.
To continue on other themes for reducing waste…