Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Lets create a check list

Lets create a check list

This is Last of the 3 ideas that I posted in 'some ideas that just don't work'. Check lists were favourite of ISO 9000 (at least the ISO 9000 implementations, that I have seen).

If your code is bad, customers are cribbing, create a check list for coding errors, check list for spec documents, check list for testing, check list for code review, check list for release etc etc etc. Generally check lists start small, grow really fast. Soon they have of life of their own and they just refuse to die. Soon you are faced with huge check lists which are impossible to follow. Worst, you have a check list which is irrelevant, but you have to make a tick (else ISO auditor or internal process people catch you). So you have to follow some stupid, rigid outdated rules just to be 'compliant'.

Lot of times check lists are used as replacemen for training. Good developer, development practices cannot be replaced by training. Good coding practices should become a habit of developers and should not remain in some check list that no one believes.

Unfortunately, I have seen 'lets create a check list' syndrome too many times. May be it comes from the fact that there is problem, and you have to show to your management that you are doing something about it. Creating a check list something you can show, its tangible. Better practices and training are intangible and take time to show the results. I think thats root cause of 'lets create a check list' syndrome.

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