We really need to add state “Need feedback from engineer”…

agile, blog

A few weeks ago I got a request to add another status to a workflow in a bug tracking system. Last week, I saw a new status in another internal system. Not that I should know all statuses but it was also introduced because we introduced a new role in our organization. Additionally, I was a bit frustrated about an HR system that we use, that has so many statuses that it almost feels like Russian roulette when you need to select a new state.

I prefer to keep things simple, work is done or not done. I realize that this a simplified view of the world and/or work, but it makes life simple (sometimes). I also prefer this approach in a workflow.

“We would like to have an extra state, “in progress at X”, “waiting for review””, etc. I believe adding extra statuses is a symptom of a problem and adding an extra state does not solve the problem. It is symptom fighting!

An extra state results often in a reason not too communicate. There is an extra state so we don’t need to inform other people anymore…. Everyone who attended a project management training, management training, work-related training knows lack of communication is always in the top three of things that go wrong… so adding an extra state, that results in less communication seems not a good solution…

I would like to favor for only three statuses in every workflow system:

  1. Not started.
  2. In Progress.
  3. Done.
Where every flow between statuses is possible. The second field that you need is “Who is Responsible”. This field is mandatory and should be someone from within the project team, development team, etc.
When this system is implemented, you always know who to contact for details about the item, the person who is responsible. The status tells you what the state of the item is. When you need more detailed information about the item you need to contact the responsible person to find out more. He or she can explain all the details about the ticket because probably not even 100 statuses can explain the exact status of the item.
There is one extra requirement in this workflow, trust! You should be able to trust your colleagues and be able to rely on them of course. When you need to add extra statuses because you can’t trust your colleagues it is symptom fighting…and you have a serious problem in your organization.
What is your opinion? Do I simplify it too much?

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