Broken Pipelines? Somebody Else’s Problem

This post first appeared at Ministry of Testing on November 16, 2020.

One of the cornerstones of Continuous Delivery is to establish a reliable deployment pipeline. Each step of the pipeline aims to provide confidence and feedback on the quality of our changes in a timely manner. Removing any blockers from the pipeline should be the utmost priority for a team so that there is a constant flow of feedback for the changes.

But if keeping the pipeline running is so important, why do we sometimes ignore failures? Why do we put up with failing tests? What makes us turn a blind eye to broken steps? What stops us from taking action to fix the issues?

One might find the answer in Douglas Adams’ 1982 novel “Life, the Universe and Everything”, which is the third book in the five-volume “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series.

The Somebody Else’s Problem field… relies on people’s natural predisposition not to see anything they don’t want to, weren’t expecting, or can’t explain.

The purpose of the field is to hide something in plain sight by simply making it somebody else’s problem. And deployment pipelines that have failed steps which are taking too long to be fixed, tend to be covered by this field. The failing steps are somebody else’s problem because we don’t want to see them, we don’t expect to see them, or we can’t explain them.

In this article, you will find examples of such unpleasant steps along with some ideas and suggestions on how to improve them.

Continue reading at Ministry of testing. Download the poster at the end of the article.

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