This is my story of lessons learned on why improvement efforts fail… I had a great team. We were disciplined about best practices and spent tons of time on improvements. Then I watched my team slam into a brick wall. We brought down production three times in a row, then couldn’t ship again for a year.
Despite our best efforts with CI, unit testing, design reviews, and code reviews, we lost our ability to understand the system. We thought our problems were caused by technical debt building up in the code base, but we were wrong. We failed to improve, because we didn’t solve the right problems. Eventually, we turned our project around, but with a lot of tough lessons along the way.
When I got into consulting, I saw a lot of teams making the same mistakes that my team did. The teams were in a lot of pain, and eventually got management support to work on improvements. Then they spent tons of time working on improvements that didn’t really make much difference.
How do we identify the right problems to solve?
How do we know if our improvements are effective?
Find out how to avoid a failed improvement effort by learning from my mistakes.