Repeated ‘so whats’

For causal analysis and resolution, there’s the 5 Whys wherein we ask Why repeatedly to arrive at a root cause. In a similar vein, asking So what repeatedly can help “extract all important information implied by a fact.” This technique is called Appreciation and its function is to extract maximum info from facts.

An example presented in the MindTools web site:

Given the fact:  It rained heavily last night.

So what?
The ground will be wet.

So what?
It will turn into mud quickly.

So what?
If many troops and vehicles pass over the same ground, movement will be progressively slower and more difficult as the ground gets muddier and more difficult.

So what?
Where possible, stick to paved roads. Otherwise, expect movement to be much slower than normal.

Although one can deduce the conclusion without the use of a formal technique, “appreciation provides a framework within which you can extract information quickly, effectively and reliably.”

Critical missed bug

This week, we came across a critical bug in our product — the auto-update won’t auto-update in our Chinese Windows Vista environment.  Roy asks me why this bug was missed. And frankly I have no idea. I’m pretty sure it was in the list of scenarios to try in one of our system tests. Either it worked perfectly before or the scenario wasn’t tried out. Anyway, I for one don’t want to play the blame game. I’m just thankful that it has been found and that it’s fixable.  And besides, it doesn’t seem as bad as the google android bug wherein texting “reboot” causes the mobile to reboot. Of course, we would still have to have DP (defect prevention) or CAR (causal analysis and resolution) on this.

I came across this blog post which is worth considering for our CAR — Why Why Why Why Why? It mentions the 5 Whys which was already twikified in our office network but I just have no idea if anyone actually bothers to read or use it.  Well, maybe our CAR would be a good place to pilot it.

[Edit (May 1, 2013): The google android bug link i mentioned doesn’t work anymore. Here’s another link instead: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/burnette/worst-bug-ever/680]