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When a SW project finish, a Project Manager is a happy, a company can send the bill and … the team moves to another project leaving the code to the lucky maintenance team.

Is the project team deeply motivated to build a product who can last for long? Is the maintenance team skilled (and willing and has the right incentive) to make the system working better and better?


Here is a possible recipe:

Form long-lived teams around applications/products, or sets of features.  A team works from a prioritised backlog of work that contains a mix of larger initiatives, minor enhancements, or BAU-style bug fixes and maintenance.  Second-level support should be handled by people in the product team.  Everyone in the team should work with common process and a clear understanding of technical design and business vision.

via Projects are evil and must be destroyed | Evan Bottcher.

What do you think?

Very good post on how checklists are used in surgery: Knoco stories: More on checklists and communication.

It’s interesting to see how much of the checklist deals with communication. 10 of the 14 checkboxes in the blue and green checklists  are about communicating and reviewing as a team.

Watch the video in the post and share your thoughts: I’m a fan of checklists, what about you?


Thanks to the Lean Manufacturing Blog, Kaizen Articles and Advice | Gemba Panta Rei I’ve discoverd this interesting book: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Dr. Atul Gawande.

The Checklist Manifesto

The book is short, easy to read, filled with stories that open our eyes to the realities of how medicine is practiced in surgical theaters around the world. The book is also a personal journey from skepticism to belief, one that many of us leading or having gone through a lean transformation can relate closely to. The trip Dr. Gawande made to Boeing to learn from aviation checklist experts and how he subsequently applied this learning is also fascinating. The book gave me a new appreciation for how hard it can be to write a good checklist, as well as the importance of checklists as opportunities to communicate, rather than simply police and catch errors. Aside from being sold once again on the value of checklists and the urgency of spreading the practical message of lean to healthcare and other critical fields as soon as possible, the book left me with three gems which caused me to think.

If you want to make me a gift: I will accept this book 🙂



Max: ‘Boss the activity is done!’
Boss: ‘Great, what did the customer say about that?’
Max: ‘The customer has not seen it yet’
Boss: ‘So it is not finished yet’
Max: ‘Well, we still need to do that small part … but the activity can be considered done’
Boss: ‘So it is not finished yet’
Max: ‘Well … as I said it is finished … except this small, unimportant stuff’

How many time have you seen this story with your team, with your suppliers, with your children?

The ‘definition of done’ is a key element in every situation in which something has to be release in some way (goal settings … have you ever heard about that? 🙂 )

The only trick I know to be successful is to EXTEND the scope of DONE as much as possible: and do it by asking every time what you can add to the delivery artifacts and processes to make the done even more done!


Good summary: Seven Principles of Lean Software Development | Agile Software Development.


Interesting post in a blog I follow called Herding Cats: Risk Management in Five Easy Pieces. The five pieced are:

  1. Hope is not a strategy
  2. All point estimates are wrong
  3. Without integrating Cost, Schedule and Technical Performance you’re driving in the rear view mirror
  4. Without a model for risk management, you’re driving in the dark with the headlights turn off
  5. Risk Communication is everything

Read the whole article for more info: I do love point 1 and 5 above all!


Ping Pong, by zimpenfish

Courtesy of zimpenfish

A friend of mine had a problem with the air conditioning in his office.

He asked for maintenance and here is the story.

Air Conditioning Maintenance Tech, after some work: ok, we have DONE.
Luca (my friend): excuse me … but the it’s not working.
Air Conditioning Maintenance Tech: yes, it’s not working. We have found that is not an air conditioning program, it’s an electrical problem. You have to call the electrical maintenance.

.. he called the electrical maintenance …

Electrical Maintenance Tech, after some work: ok, we have DONE.
Luca: excuse me … it’s working in the sense that it’s blowing air, but the air is HOT .
Electrical Maintenance Tech: I don’t know, we have fixed the electrical problem. If it’s hot, you have to call the air conditioning maintenance.

… can you imagine the continuation?


By AMagill, Some rights reserved

As you know, if you read this blog, few days ago we run into a replacement of all keys that are used for automatic coffee machines or other automatic dispensers.

A pretty easy task: you just need to return your key, and the give back a new one with the correct amount of money charged. A straightforward task that has be done for hundreds of people an surely CAN BE DONE POORELY.

With my surprise, they did a great job. A guy came next to the dispenser with a small magic box and sample instructions:

  • plug the old key in the first hole
  • plug the new key in the second hole
  • wait for an OK message (all money transferred and key activated) in a small visor
  • … and that’s all: less than 10 seconds including a smile and a ‘thank you’


P.S. Interesting how such a simple event can lead to (by now) two blog posts 🙂

By Miroku, Some Rights Reserved

Reading other posts in the Gemba Panta Rei site, I’ve been redirected to an interesting article in the New Yorker site, called The Checklist.

There are a lot of great examples and thoughts, so read it if you like the topic!

Let me just underline something happened when Boeing, in 1935, presented to the US Army Air Corp a new plane that was by far better then the products of all other competitors. He was so perfect that … it crashed for a human error at its test flight (2 of 5 crew members died). It was declared as ‘too much airplane for one man to fly‘.

Do you know what saved Boeing from bankrupt?

They [a group of test pilots] came up with an ingeniously simple approach: they created a pilot’s checklist, with step-by-step checks for takeoff, flight, landing, and taxiing. Its mere existence indicated how far aeronautics had advanced. In the early years of flight, getting an aircraft into the air might have been nerve-racking, but it was hardly complex. Using a checklist for takeoff would no more have occurred to a pilot than to a driver backing a car out of the garage. But this new plane was too complicated to be left to the memory of any pilot, however expert.

Interesting lessons for IT geeks around!


Lately I read some posts / articles about a very important Lean practice called Standardized Work.

Here are some definitions from the Lean Advisors Site:

Standardized Work

  • A Task is completed exactly the same way every time no matter who is performing the procedure.

Standardized Work Instructions

  • A visual step-by-step documentation that displays how to complete a task.
  • Work Instructions are a way of communicating to the employees the precise steps to be used to complete the given task.

But what I like more, the added great value of Standardized Work, is what Jon Miller writes in his blog Gemba Panta Rei:

Standard Work is not about work instructions for the operator. It is all about kaizen instructions for managers. […] By documenting the current most effective combination of manpower, machines and materials, these two documents (Standard Work Sheet, Standard Work Combination Sheet) show how the line or cell should be running – the standard. Any deviation seen requires kaizen. This is abnormality management.


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