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What happens when your product is not stable close to release date ? – Part 2

In the previous post in this series (Making the right decisions), I talked about some of the decisions that the senior management team has to make when they are near the release of a major product, and the balancing act that they need to make while making the right decision (in a situation where the wrong decision can break their career and cause huge damage to their companies). With such risks, it is a wonder that these managers are able to make a decision at all, and yet you see people making such decisions under these high pressure situations all the time.
So in this post let us talk about what should not happen. Given the tremendous pressure that exists to ensure that the schedule is met, there is a basic mental tendency to be optimistic and hope for the best, and this can get projected in a way that there is reluctance to hear bad news. You know the type – the QE team or other executing team members are told that they are free to report the exact situation that exists and there should be no hesitation in providing the correct situation rather than hiding stuff that they feel that senior managers would not like.
This is one of the biggest challenges that an organization can face. With large releases, there is a lot of emphasis on the importance of this release, on how the future of the company depends on this release and so on, and implicit is the suggestion that everybody should contribute to ensuring that the date is met, and not be the roadblock in meeting the schedule. This puts a huge pressure on teams which are by nature seen as reporting bad news (which is actually a bad representation of what the QE team does, but we need to be realistic on how many people see this all important function), enough that QE team members would be hesitant in being the bearer of bad news. As a result, there needs to be a lot of positive affirmation by the senior managers that it is critical for the exact status to be projected by the team members, that if there are apprehensions and worries from the team members, it needs to be known to the senior managers along with the reasons for the same.
What happens is that if the QE team members report some problems, or near the end, start making some suggestions that the product is not of good quality, there should be an environment already existing where such worries are evaluated by a core committee, where QE team members are invited to present their viewpoints and then the decision is made about these worries in a way that people are convinced.

Read this book for some more advice in this area: Judgement Calls: Making Good Decisions in Difficult Situations –

More about this in the next post ..

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