Don’t Be Part of the Problem, Be Part of the Solution

Here’s an article that shows how the producers job is to focus on the solution, not on the problem. It’s not about somebody winning and somebody losing – it’s about creating a win-win situation if possible.

The problem
Two team leads were having a problem. The lead of the testing group was worried that new versions are not released as often as they should. When test versions don’t come soon enough, it might mean that testers need to test the game version that crashes often. It also means that new features aren’t tested as soon as possible, but rather that there could be weeks of delay before the group got their hands into new version.

The leader of the programming group on the other hand was worried that building new releases every other day takes too much time, since it require compilation of everything and making sure proper versions are used and that there’s no test code in the package. He was worried that making new release packages take too much time, when concentration should be on finishing the actual game. Lead of the tester team was requiring more releases, and the lead of the programming group was pointing out that compiling each release is away from actual programming.

The solution
These two guys had been “fighting” over this same thing earlier, and the game producer had also heard about this earlier. Now, the producer was in a tough situation: (1) Should he delay the tests in order to have more time for making the game? Or (2) should he delay making the game to ensure that there’s enough time spent for testing. It seemed to be a win-lose situation.

Instead of picking either of these options, the producer started to think: how can everybody win? Is there any other options? The producer came up with a simple answer, and he asked the team leads: “Why not make the release process faster?”.

Instead of spending too much time making release packages – over and over – it was suggested that the programming team would spend some time improving the release process, so that it would take only a few minutes at maximum. This option pleased both the lead tester and the lead programmer.

The system got automated and lead programmer was happy since it took no significant amount of time from his team to build each release, and the lead tester was happy since now he was having new test versions almost real time.

Also the producer was happy that he didn’t have to hear no more fighting in coffee breaks…

Juuso Hietalahti