Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tools Don't Fix People

"Hey, our process isn't working. This great new tool will help!"

No, it won't.

No tool can fix a human problem.

There are a lot of different software development processes - RUP, XP, SCRUM, etc etc etc. Most of them have tools associated with them, ranging from the RUP templates and all the various products in the Rational Suite, to agile process management tools like Rally. These tools have a purpose, and can be an amazing productivity gain, but they don't do any good if your problem is your process or the people in your process.

What a tool can do:
  • Help document your process
  • Help document conformance to your process
  • Act as a memory aid to help people remember the ins and outs of your process
  • Provide reporting to help you measure your process improvement
What a tool can't do:
  • Make people use it
  • Force people to follow your process
  • Give you the benefits the process improvements can
Don't mistake a people problem for a tool problem. There's enough software gathering dust; fix the people, then fix the tools.

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