the release bottleneck

Ron Jeffries wrote that it is it is poor business practice to have complete software that hasn’t been deployed. Let’s test something…

As I’ve described elsewhere, I’m currently helping a large organisation that has a shared infrastructure / architecture and swarms of business projects. Many of these projects want to add features to one particular VB client. But the VB client is zealously protected: it must never fail, and too much change in it would swamp and confuse its low-skilled users. Consequently the developers can create new software features faster than the business are willing to deploy them.

TOC would say that we must subordinate the software production process to match the capacity of the bottleneck. That is, projects should only create new features if they can be deployed immediately. Amazingly, that’s exactly what happens. The bottleneck is protected by a design board (yes, nothing here is done by one person working alone); the board schedules a few releases per year, and project managers have to squabble to get their features into one. Any project that can’t get a release slot has to wait. It works!

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