· software-development

The 5 whys: Another attempt

Towards the end of the week before last and the beginning of last week we’d been having quite a few problems with our QA environment to the point where we were unable to deploy anything to it for 3 days.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a 5 whys exercise that we did in a retrospective and in our weekly code review we decided to give it a go and see what we could learn.

We started with the question ‘Why was there a mess?’ and then branched out the first level whys since it was fairly clear that there wasn’t only one thing which had contributed to our problems.

Mess lil

We ended up with 4 answers to the first why:

We then worked across the whiteboard taking each of these in turn.

I think our approach allowed us to avoid part of ‘the cult of the root cause’ which Don Reinertsen wrote about.

It still wasn’t quite spot on due to some mistakes I made while facilitating but these were my observations:

  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Pocket