Last month we talked about Root Cause Analysis and mentioned that the real benefit was derived when we stopped whole classes of defects in many places. However, that gain will not be realised without a Defect Management Process. Doing Root Cause Analysis without an attached process is a waste of time. It is like carrying out a Post Implementation Review or Lessons Learned and not acting on the results.

As mentioned previously the root case analysis will tell you where the problem originated. In a project situation with a deadline looming we may need to fix that defect for the sake of delivering the project on time and with the required functionality. The Defect Management Process needs to keep that defect in a place where we can continue to act on it and fix the root cause not just the defect itself.

Assuming that the defect has now been fixed, we can place it in a status where it is fixed (allows the project to proceed) but not fuly closed and filed away. At this stage, Quality Assurance can take over the defect and determine if there is a long term fix that can be implemented. It is quite possible that the fix will span multiple projects and applications. After all the root cause may be a process issue that is common to many projects.

In a couple of weeks we will discuss how to implement that fix since it may not be project specific.

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