Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day to day fire fighting and QOS

During last 5 years I have seen lots of fire fighters in IT related companies. Today I thought to write about them.

Who are the firefighters
If fire is some where then firefighters also around and when we thinking on other way round, that also true sometimes. That is, if firefighters are there that mean definitely fire is going around. so basically without fire no firefighters and they are always starting to stop fire when only fire got started.

When we come to the IT industry, most of the time employees working with end customers are firefighters. They always facing to the firings from customers due to many reasons. Sometimes may be delaying releases, unidentified bugs and various system failures.
Sometimes they getting cross fire from company management team and from the client. Client firing on the breaking the promises of project requirements and management start firing on when profit of the project getting down.
I've got above image via email few years back. I can say main reasons for firefightings are described in above image. Obviously, at the end of the day victims are the client and project delivery team.

How to identify?
You can identify these fire fighters, when they speaking about their experience and technical skills. When they are saying, they have experiences in project management and software development.... that is the first indication of being the fire fighter. If you continue the discussion, you can hear that they are expertise in system engineering and networking too... Sometimes they are doing sales and marketing as well. So basically they are all-rounders, because of handling many projects and playing many roles.
If you are the onsite project coordinator and If you couldn’t see these characteristics, then you cannot find them until you getting involved to the cross fire of company management and the client side. So I warn you on following things, because if you do followings that mean you making your hell out there.
  1.  Trust firefighters dead lines
  2.  Believe firefighters skills
  3.  Documents signoff on time
  4.  Believe firefighters project time lines
Birth of fire fighters
Normally birth of firefighter is happening due to failures in management of the company. I’m saying that due to two reasons.
  1.  Managers with poor and plaster management skills are making a mess out of job roles and employees have to play many roles.
  2. If company management targeting only the profit, then again employees have to play many roles. Because management is restricting the recruitments and asking employees to generate more and more profit using limited recourses.
If the company following global standards and properly manage the resources, then every employee needs to play his/her allocated job role only (which is happy scenario). When single employee playing many roles, it’s good to make short term profits but in long term he is being high skill individual player and company needs to depend on him. Sometimes when he is making his personal decisions, that feels to whole company management. Then you can find the birth of fire fighter (sometimes you may know him already before he came to this stage).

Effects on QOS
If your company has higher number of firefighters, that means providing less quality of service. Because of the high demand on single resource and spending less time on service, QOS getting lower. This is the main reason for clients to get guns on you. And this is the only reason which management never understand... ever...!!
Today lots of companies are getting many projects promising thousands of features. Funny part is management allocating only few people to do all of projects and at the end of the project, they delivering some shits to customer and start firefighting afterwards to get covered.

Moral of the this post is "Never start the projects without enough resources, otherwise you're giving the birth to firefighters".

So be careful with fire fighters and making fire fighter in your company, Otherwise you will feel some "Awesome" feelings at the end of the projects :-)

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