Don’t blame objects

It’s common to hear people blaming objects, documents and other non-living artefacts. Don’t blame objects.

  • “We built the wrong thing because the spec was wrong”
  • “The customer’s list of requirements was wrong – it’s their fault”
  • “The software didn’t support our process so we did it wrong”

But behind each of these reasons/excuses (and the many thousands more reasons) are people.

People and poor communication cause problems, not inanimate things (objects/words/models).

Behind each business challenge or problem are people and it’s usually to do with communication.

It’s usually not just one person too – but a group of people.

If the requirements in a specification are wrong then it’s likely that everyone who wrote it, edited it, reviewed it, designed against it, built it, tested it, proofed it and shipped it could have done something about the wrong requirements.

The requirements are not the problem. It is people who created them and worked on them and the environment in which they operate.

The requirements aren’t real. The requirements aren’t alive. They can’t think. They didn’t wake up one day and decide to cause grief.

So I have a general rule in my life that whenever I find myself blaming an inanimate object I ask these questions:

“What part have I played in this situation?”

“Does our work environment support critical questioning?”