Although finding and fixing a defect can improve software quality, often its greatest value is to use the defect as a catalyst for preventing a similar problem in the future. If you identify a defect's preventable cause and permanently correct the issue, your organization can quickly recoup the costs to find, fix, and clean-up a defect. Root cause analysis is a powerful technique that has long been used in manufacturing industries to learn from mistakes. Randy Rice presents a simple way to adapt this technique to the software in your organization. Randy recommends practicing root cause analysis on different classes of defects before deploying it on a wider scale. The beauty of this simple approach is that any organization can apply it with minimal investment. Learn the pitfalls to avoid and how to isolate the root cause from other contributing causes to make your defects pay.
Test managers often choose solutions to problems without sufficient analysis, resulting in a cover-up of the symptom rather than a solution to the underlying problem. Later, the problem may surface again in a different disguise, and we may mishandle it again, just as we did initially. Alon Linetzki describes a simple process you can use to identify the root causes of problems and create an appropriate solution to eliminate them. Alon shows how he enhanced the classic root cause analysis method to create an approach to finding insidious problems in software and processes. His method includes ways to differentiate symptoms from problems, understand the connection between them, and determine the strength and direction of that connection. Alon illustrates this method with data from two testing projects and shares the lessons learned along the way.