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In contrast to the flybys typical of GM executives, his first official visit to Rüsselsheim a year ago became a six-hour inspection tour as he took a deep dive into Opel’s operations, initiating part-by-part comparisons with Peugeot and Citroën. The review uncovered hard-to-justify excesses such as the 57 possible infotainment systems for the Corsa, a bread-and-butter hatchback that starts at about €12,000. That’s being reduced to fewer than 10. Similarly, Corsa buyers will have nine windshield and wiper options, down from 16. “Under PSA, there’s a stronger focus on reducing complexity,” says Flavio Friesen, a director for vehicle engineering who’s worked at Opel for 11 years. “That’s helped us get more efficient.” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, September 3 2018, a French tuneup for German cars. Image: www.amorgos-diving.com

I spend the afternoon in the room set aside to archive all our defect resolution reports. The room was part of our technical library and I had stumbled upon this corner of it one day while looking for something else in the library. I had grabbed a random folder containing the issues and fixes for a problem this organization had encountered in the past. I quickly got engrossed in understanding the problems and solutions and ended up going through an uncounted number of defect reports and by the time I realized it, the afternoon was gone and the building was clearing out.

See more we need to deep dive

That unplanned deep dive into the past issues on past projects gave me the insight into how to significantly reduce the number of defects we were encountering on each project. The primary insight was that if we had done nothing more than ensured that our software testing had executed each line of code in our software, the vast majority of defects would have been caught before we released our product. Once we implemented this small change to our development testing, our software releases panicked the formal test teams because they could no longer easily find issues as they had in the past. Note that the test teams had not caught the harder issues that escaped to the customers, but they always felt as if they were contributing because they could always find lots of issues.

For more on testing and quality, see the worst test organization I’ve ever encountered

There is nothing better, I’ve ever found, than having deep knowledge of my project and organization for giving me the ability to rocket an organization forward in productivity and quality. While this sounds obvious, most people, I’ve concluded have never achieved a deep insight into how their teams and organization worked and so never knew that it was possible nor what they were missing.

See for example successful managers without successful projects

Are you taking the time to periodically deep dive into the details of your project in order to build the deep insights you need to lead successful projects?

Thank you for sharing!