Being – First Time Right
Imagine the days without GPS enabled devices, whenever we had to reach a destination and didn’t know the route. With some idea that we may have or we seek information from other and go ahead in a certain direction, and ultimately reach a place only to find that it is not the correct destination. There-after we re-confirm the way to head towards another route and hope to finally reach the correct destination. We cannot imagine how difficult could it get, when proper information is not gathered, right questions are not asked, analysis is not done, appropriate process is not applied. Not only does it makes achieving the end result difficult but it greatly impacts the Time & Cost.
Now-a-days we have GPS enabled devices, with just few inputs, we get alternate routes and the chances of reaching our destination on our first attempt increases drastically. Reaching a desired destination in first attempt not only saves us from frustration of re-routing, re-searching, seeking help, re-confirming the route but also will save the energy, time and fuel (cost).
Bottom line – one can save Time and Money for being right in the first attempt.
Every goal is a destination; and so is every task performed by every role in a project and if one does not gather right information, ask right questions, apply methods/best practices/processes to be “First Time Right” then that could lead to re-routing or re-work which would not only lead to frustration but affects the basic factors i.e. The Cost and The Time. But how often are we first time right is the question to ask ourselves? How often do we get to hear “Oh! I thought it was supposed to be like this or like that” or “Oh! I thought you meant the other way.” from our team members or business associates? All such cases ultimately results in delay and affect the business. Thus resulting an adverse effect on The Time and The Cost.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have GPS like device to accomplish tasks in our first attempt i.e. to reach goal by being First Time Right every time. Well not so soon we may have such a device to enable us to perform variety of tasks but we can still attempt by following ways that could lead us to being first time right.
We tried applying different methods for different scenarios to be right in our first attempt and we are getting better with every subsequent ones. Whether it is to develop a complex computation for a finance related software OR whether to create a complex web user screen to facilitate users to play with data OR whether to provide an information to a developer to write a program OR to understand clients’ problem/query and to provide solution/information/answer. By recording how many times we are First Time Right in our responses, and analysing our approach, with continuous efforts, we gradually have started getting better. This also means that we started doing lesser and lesser re-work in understanding a problem, gathering/specifying requirements, re-create test cases, re-code, re-test, re-deploy, re-document and re-communicate to customer to re-confirm. It makes us capable to accomplish more in the time that is NOT spent doing RE-WORK.
Some of the methods that we envisaged are mentioned below:
- Before replying to client’s on their clarification, we first seek to understand the question, the type of information needed, client’s intention and benefit from it, confirm our understanding and then proceed to provide appropriate answer, along with the impact (if any) with additional alternatives that will not only save us from re-visiting the same thing again but will also help in taking care of an important point before it turns into crisis.
- Before programming a complex computation, we first confirm the data availability, data source, data format and the computation formula, followed by the confirmation of the components used in the formula, followed by confirmation of the source of the components, followed by using real data. And apply it on a spreadsheet to confirm the end result. When such is the process for development then the chances of getting the incorrect results diminishes drastically.
- Before developing a screen, we walk-through scenario and steps with clients/end users, followed by discussing and confirming a quick mock-up of the screen (pure static HTML) showing exactly how each and every part of the screen would look, the text of the labels & buttons, watermark text on the input boxes and the text of the validation messages. After confirming on the above, the actual development is carried on. This saves re-work that may have caused due to the below mentioned difference of opinion:
- I wish to have blue buttons instead of green.
- I wish to display error messages printed on the screen instead of Message boxes with OK button.
- I thought it would show a message as “Please enter your name” instead “Name cannot be left blank”.
- I thought it will display the red border for the mandatory fields but instead it has red asterisk symbol.
- The list can go on.
- Overall we:
- Prevent Misunderstanding
- Adhere to processes
- Confirm Assumptions
- Confirm desired result/output
- Most importantly – We have changed the attitude and the thinking that “errors are inevitable”. By questioning us the below questions that one can ask themselves:
- Will I accept an error from a doctor or nurse? Yes/No
- Will I accept an error in the development of road / Water Bridge? Yes/No
- Will I accept an error from my car manufacturer / mechanic? Yes/No
- Will I accept an error in a roller coaster that I ride? Yes/No
- As a member of a Software Development Team – Am I in-competent to act with responsibility in my field than many such professionals mentioned in the above questions? Yes/No
If your answers to all the above questions is ‘No’ then Congratulate yourself because either you are already on the track of being First Time Right or it is a new beginning for you.
The Team at Thinkinno will continue to strive to be First Time Right (every single time). And with such efforts and processes, we hope to serve better and continue to add value.