On rebuilding without stopping

Rebuilding and rebranding are mainstays within the business world. These things happen. Some departments within an organization do not have a down period. They run on a tight monthly schedule. That schedule keeps the cadence of events regular. However, at all times — things are in motion. That motion won’t be stopping anytime soon. Production cannot be halted. Consider for a moment the very real challenge of rebuilding or retraining personal while production is still occurring. Any action taken to build or train has to occur without breaking the production workflow.

I have been pondering that scenario for a couple of weeks. I have been pondering the reality of rebuilding a software group from the ground up without stopping production. The group has to continue working. They cannot stop. The group in question has deliverables due every day. Every one of the deliverables is highly visible within the organization. That makes is hard to change directions. Any change of direction has to enhance quality and increase velocity without creating any real disruption.

It comes down to a few simple considerations. Some of them will become apparent within the follow unrelated example. I’m not sure a player from the audience could seamlessly join the orchestra on stage. They would have to know the material and join in rhythm. They have to know that their addition would add value. An orchestra is a very well refined system with a clear path forward and a conductor keeping time. Having that level of instructions changes the focus to execution. An orchestra is judged on their execution. The entire product is heard. Anything out of place truly does become apparent. The audience can literally hear the problems.

At this point, in our software team scenario quality issues are not as readily apparent. The members of the team feel like every moment of their days are occupied with tasks. Over the course of the last couple of quarters the team has become fatigued.

Even a quick review of the group would turn up some basic things to examine. It looks like the group would benefit from additional on the job training, clear work instructions, and a work product tracking system. Before implementing that type of measure a number of alternatives have to be considered. It is during that consideration that the scenario becomes even more interesting. It becomes interesting because the process of mapping the changes to the current process means balancing objectives within the current workflow.

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