appropriate action depends on the timing. All three timings may be involved, but the manager has to begin somewhere, and often only one is at work. If a customer complains about something in the past then fix it, or maybe in the present it is about selecting a new tool or process.
In addition, there are various types of action possible to address a problem or potential problem. Charlie got Sally to draw the following diagram:
(c) Alan Weiss Ph.D. See reference
Charlie explained that problems have effects which we see and which draw our attention. Addressing the cause in the past, after the effects are felt, is corrective. Ameliorating the effects we're currently feeling is adaptive. Anticipating and averting causes from arising in the future is preventive. Anticipating and lessening the effects in the future (should the preventive action fail or unforeseen causes develop) is contingent.
A fire marshal checking for unsafe conditions, or running acceptance tests before release are preventive measure. Insurance to cover losses if a fire occurs anyway, or the legal liabilities of the damage defects might cause are contingent measures. Finding the cause of the customer's bugs so that they don't recur is a corrective measure. Giving the customer free credit to ease current unhappiness is an adaptive action.
Sally started to become excited and energised as she realized the potential and how this applied to what she was doing.
A lot of her work in configuration management, and indeed the development processes in use by the whole team, was firmly in the corrective and adaptive segments, and yet if they could move work into the preventive segment life could potentially be a lot easier.
The relative costs also seemed to make sense - it usually costs more to fix the problems than it does to prevent them.
Charlie agreed with Sally and discussed how he had taken this idea and applied it in his previous company, using it as a tool for communication with the business in order to get investment and backing for appropriate tools and resources.
The End of It
Due to lack of time we have to leave the gentle reader to imagine the scenes when Charlie took her back into her past as a young and enthusiastic configuration engineer, and then showed her the future Sally ground down and depressed by unremitting and unrelenting hard work and problems.
Indeed we must even leave the reader to imagine what happened when Charlie left Sally and she worked up her courage to approach Ben Scrooge, but with a new ability to communicate with the old skinflint, and a golden glow of energy and enthusiasm around her, we can only hint at portents of results such as automated builds, continuous integration, automated test suites, automated release note production, appropriate branching patterns and the like.
To quote the master:
Scrooge became as good a friend, as good a VP, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough