Agile Open: Thinking for a Change

Thinking for a change

Marc Evers and I hosted a “Thinking for a Change” session. Not the whole session, just the “Current Reality Tree” to discover root causes of problems participants brought to the session.

Thinking for a Change 1Team 1: the build keeps failing

On the left, the first group. They analyzed a problem where a team had a failing build for days on end and didn’t do anything about it.

You have to wonder why they put the automated build and tests in place. What was their goal?

Team 2: balance between work and life

Thinking for a Change 2nd groupThe second team, on the right analyzed the root causes of a situation where the balance between work and life wasn’t right. This was due, amongst other things, to long travel times between home and workplace. We had a similar situation during the session at SPA 2006.

You can use the thinking tools for other things than technical problems.

Thinking for a Change 3rd group

Team 3: getting two teams to work together

The third team analyzed a situation where development and operations teams didn’t work well together.

This situation was quite similar to the one I present to explain the technique, except that my example talks about one team and this situation was about the whole company. I managed to resolve the problem for one team. It will take a bit more thinking and effort to solve it for the whole company.

Finding the root of all evil

The teams found some potential root causes for their problem, but they needed a bit more time than the 90 minutes we spent today. I hope the three “customers” got a bit more insight in their situation. I find the Current Reality Tree a very useful tool to concentrate on a problem. All too often, we jump directly to a solution, before we really understand the problem. The CRT steps force me to go slowly and study the problem in depth, before I can start to think about solutions, with the Future Reality Tree.

I use the Thinking Processes every day, together with the other people who are involved in the situation. I don’t need to explain the technique, we just do it. All it takes is a piece of paper, a pen and a few people who want to solve a problem.

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