Archive for October, 2012

Herd Ball

If you have young children who play sports, you may have observed the phenomenon called Herd Ball.  If you don’t – let me explain.  This is when kids are playing baseball, football, soccer – team sports involving a ball.  Where the ball goes, they go – as a herd. 

Ever have one of those situations where there are “too many cooks in the kitchen”?  In IT, this happens a lot from my experience.  The lines we work in are blurry.  Blurry lines are not a bad thing but it can be when you have a group of people trying to get a project done.  Some people would say “hey, it’s a good thing – let 6 people all contribute on a task – just means they are “collaborating”. 

Collaborating is a great thing when a team is stuck – trying to brainstorm ideas.  Think of it another way –

You pay 6 people an hourly rate of $55 an hour.

They are trying to get through QA testing – everyone pitches in.

Each person writes their own scenarios & test cases.  Each person has a 10 total scenarios with duplication of 5 scenarios across all 6 people.  Each scenario takes 2 hours to execute.

You just wasted 2 hours * 5 people (1 person has to execute) * 5 scenarios * $55 per hour – $2,750.

Why are we okay with this?  That’s 10 hours of work in total – what could you do with 10 hours?  What could you do with an extra $2,750?  What if this is occurring across multiple projects per year?

This is where organization needs to occur.  Someone has to take point – act as the coach – officially or unofficially.  Dividing up the work based on skills & risks.  Maybe your tester is new and it’s a good thing to have more than one perspective on the test results.  It’s still less costly to have 2 people duplicating effort as a method to reduce risk than 5 people.

A lack of organization or understanding of roles will lead to duplication of effort.  A little planning upfront can save you money in the long run.

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October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm 4 comments


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