Project management is a discipline that controls the entire process of product development. And in the process of work, many defects and bugs appear.
Analysis of defects and bugs can show us the source of the causes. We can find problems at their root. The project manager is the role that should be the basis of all activities and analyzes. Reference: “Defects analysis in Project Management and development”, https://bvop.org/learn/pmdefectsanalysis/
The main causes of defects are often hidden in the initiation of the project in determining the scope and requirements. The misunderstanding of the scope affects both the poorly prepared requirements and the changes made after it.
The reasons should be sought in and together with all teams involved in their formation – business analysts, programmers, designers, engineers, technical or business-oriented specialists. Let’s analyze what we didn’t understand correctly and what we could improve in the future. The reasons may be the lack of communication, which accounts for 12% of the analyzed defects, and for which I am most to blame (as PM), and which leads to a lack of sufficient commitment, focus, and motivation of the teams.
Based on the analyzes, it will be assessed whether there is a need to hire specialists with other skills and competencies in the company.
Finally, to avoid future projects led by me or another project manager, the addition of the conclusions to the Lessons Learned blog.
How to do a defect analysis?
Initially, we find what % (share) of the registered defects in each category. Reference: “Defect analysis and project manager”, https://managementwire.wordpress.com/2021/01/31/defect-analysis-and-project-manager/ Thus, for the general work, we will have an idea of where to start solving the problems in cases when the number of defects is a multi-digit number.
- Time pressure: 3%
- General Stress: 1%
- Scope misunderstanding: 24%
- Scope change: 26%
- Poor requirements: 33%
- Lack of communication: 12%
- Technical complexity: 1%
Poor requirements 33%:
Poor description of the requirements or frequent change of requirements by the customer is two of the reasons that summarize 57 defects. The description of the requirements is set as soon as the project is received, therefore the detail required for the correct implementation has not been reached during the assignment.
There may be a reason and a difference in the language of the contracting authority and the contractor, that English is international, but everyone speaks it according to their abilities. To reduce the number of defects in this category, the possibility of a discrepancy in language must be ruled out.
The description of the requirements in plain language also depends on the specialized terminology used. If the description is intended only for technically literate teams, then what will the Marketing team do, so the content in the description of the requirements must be thoroughly reviewed and corrected in plain language.
This will most likely be handled by the project manager of the project.
To be able to properly evaluate our project, if the change of requirements is the cause of many defects, rather than their description, it would be better to have a separate category of “change of requirements”. It will help us to negotiate any change either in additional implementation time or in additional payment.
If there are inexperienced employees in the teams who are not used to the language of the company, when reading the requirements it would be good to provide them with an experienced employee so that they do not waste time in performing the wrong task.
Scope change 26%:
This category shows us that just as the client probably did not know what he wanted at the beginning so that someone in the negotiating team did not clearly outline the scope. In the case of a high-tech product, in an area where there are many discoveries and innovations, the change in scope is not exactly a defect, but an effort to achieve the best for the changing market of the product in question.
The project manager must intervene, the changes must be agreed upon so that their production is beneficial for the contractor.
But since a project must have an end, the project manager must talk to the managers not to change the scope so often, but to agree on a different project so that the work of the current one does not stall. Reference: “Change Control and Configuration Management in Project Management practices”, https://www.islandjournal.net/change-control-and-configuration-management-in-project-management-practices/
Scope misunderstanding 24%:
If the reasons for poor requirements and scope misunderstanding have a common ground, for example, the translator, the solution is to change the translator. Otherwise, the assumption that one of the managers contracting the project did not understand the client’s desire is quite frightening.
I will consider this category not as the scope of the project, but as the scope of the different stages of the project. Because in a large project in which more than one team of “Programmers” works, the division between their tasks must be accurate and clear, otherwise the work will be doubled, and some tasks may remain unfinished.
The main coordinator for the distribution is the project manager.
The number of meetings between project managers should be increased to improve the understanding of the scope. Reference: “Quality control and quality assurance in Project Management and Agile practices”, https://scrumtime.org/quality-control-and-quality-assurance-project-management-agile-practices/
Lack of communication 12%:
12% is not much, but if we are project managers with experience, 12% in the category of “lack of communication” this is a clear sign that we have abandoned our mediation activities, which is to facilitate communication between teams.
The number of meetings between project managers should be increased. In order not to go to the other extreme, the meetings to discuss the work to take more time than the work itself, I will look for information whether the registered defects are from the same team, or the communication between several teams has deteriorated.
If they are from colleagues from the same team – there is a problem in the team, it may be a new leader or an old leader with new colleagues. Communication needs to be improved according to the situation.
If several teams cannot find a mutual understanding, we move on to increasing the number of joint meetings, and maybe it’s time for team building for the whole company, to unite the team.
Time pressure 3%:
3% against the background of 33% is an insignificant amount of defects, but still not like 1%.
As project managers, we need to review the deadlines from the work breakdown and plan time assessment documents, because we may not have estimated the time, or in the meantime, there may have been changes in the number of colleagues in the teams, someone has left, someone may be ill longer, experienced colleagues to be replaced by new ones.
General Stress 1%:
You can’t do without defects, you still don’t feel at home. But we are a team, and the team is made up of units. Therefore, most likely as a mediator, one of the functions of the project manager, I will find these 2 colleagues who have registered defects in the category, and after a conversation to establish the causes, I will look for a solution to their problems.
Technical complexity 1%:
It is impossible without defects, we will consider this 1% as a positive indicator, the level of technical skills and knowledge of the teams, managers and project manager is at a good level and lead to only 1% misunderstanding.
To help the 2 colleagues who have registered a defect, or maybe 1 colleague who has encountered a technically difficult task twice, we set up a meeting to clarify the problem, if training is needed, we engage and Human Resources.