The People Side of Quality

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Early in my career, I managed a project that had seemed to go well. We delivered a system upgrade to another business area on time and budget—and with all of the desired functionality included. There had been no major drama during the project, and I felt pretty good as we handed over to the end users and started to close out the project.

But a couple of weeks later, it became clear that there were issues. The business area that was using the upgraded system was experiencing problems. The system sometimes froze or crashed, there were delays at certain times of the day, etc. It was clear that our “great system upgrade” had some defects, and we had missed them.

I got the team together to talk through the possible causes—and to prepare to take the upgrade back and run more tests. But the lead developer said something in that initial meeting that concerned me at the time—and has stuck with me in the many years since. He said, “I was worried that something like this might happen; something just didn’t seem right.”

I couldn’t believe it. He was worried about the system but didn’t say anything and let it be released?! Then we had those problems he was concerned about and he effectively went, “Yep, I knew it.” I asked him the obvious question Why hadn’t he said anything? His answer was perfectly …

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"Life begins at 40, but often so does arthritis and the habit of telling the same story three times to the same person."

- Sam Levenson

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