Hidden Costs

I’m finally done with extracting bug information. All projects show a runaway bug train trend. 2 of the teams have ~250 bugs accumulated over the last year, the 3rd has 90. These usually end up as an extra cost to the customer and us, moving on with subsequent releases. And there’s the cost of find-fix-retest of the bugs we do solve.

We haven’t done much data collection over the time spent of all the “additional tasks” that are not planned in advance. If there’s a task of a few days or more, it goes into the plan. But I’m talking about those smaller tasks that accumulate over time, but we don’t know how much.

Now we do. Since starting working with Project Server we instructed the teams to log all hours spent on unplanned tasks, as long as it takes more than half a day. (less than that seems bureaucratic, and the chance of the people going along with that is very low). This does not count tasks that were planned but got longer, just those that were added.

So the numbers are not that accurate, but I can say that if we compare actual development that was planned with the unplanned tasks, we get 5:1. For every 5 days of development we planned, there was an additional 1 day of unplanned tasks.

Obviously, these tasks were always there in some form. But if you don’t measure, you don’t know the effect it has. What we can do is plan better for next time with this information.

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