Shahzad Bhatti

March 4, 2006

Responsibility vs Accountability

Filed under: Computing — admin @ 8:07 pm

Responsibility vs Accountability
Based on Jim O’coplien’s book on organization patterns, you can not give
responsibility to anyone. Only someone can accept it, however you can hold
someone accountable. According to Kent Beck, accountability entails reporting
back on what happenend and responsibility means sticking with the problem
in trying to solve it. However, you cannot hold someone accountable if you
don’t provide enough resources to him to complete his job. I think this
last statement is specially true and I have dealt with numerous situations
when management never provided tools or resources to finish the job or do
the job right. For example, recently I was trying to track an application bug
that caused some financial damage. However, due to complexity of the system,
the log files are of terabytes. Worse, there isn’t any datamining tools
to query the logs instead you have to do zgrep on huge compressed files and
it takes days to search. In the meantime management keeps bugging when will
the financial data be ready. This is another example of an organization where
daily firefighting prevents anyone to think about any long term solutions
to common problems.

March 2, 2006

Glory of Firefighting

Filed under: Computing — admin @ 7:55 am

Glory of Firefighting
I have observed in a few dysfunctional organizations where firefighting
is the norm and is rewarded. In such organization normal process of software
development is viewed as mundane and people do poor quality job. However,
they use this low quality process to become heros when crisis emerge. In
one of the organization, they created special roles and teams like SWAT
team that handles crisis or firefighting. In these organizations, emphasis
is on firefighting rather than fire-prevention.

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