Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Does your team have Blame Well?

Here is an important role for every budding software team…It's called the "Blame Well".

Now, the way it works is, each week the team rotates the role of Blame Well to a new team member. During that week, if *anything* goes wrong that team member immediately assumes *all blame* for anything that goes amiss.

The role of Blame Well enables the team and stakeholders to immediately get past trying to figure out whose fault anything is. Instead, the team can directly move into useful discussion about resolving whatever issue came up.

So…this post is definitely tongue-in-cheek. I think if a team really needed a Blame Well there are deeper problems to address.

What I hope folks could take away from this is that assigning fault and blame is pretty pointless. A better approach is to simply figure out what the next best thing can be done in the current context.

This doesn't mean teams shouldn't inspect and adapt…but true reflection and growth happens without fault and blame.

I'd enjoy hearing stories about how people helped their own teams or organizations get out of the blame game.


  1. I think you mean "QA team" ;-)

  2. I think a nice improvement might be to have the same person playing the role all the time. I mean it would render the whole blame game even more irrelevant. If "no matter what happens it is always Pawel's fault" communicates a message pretty clearly. Even more so if Pawel happens to be absent at that time.

    Of course it will work only as long as blame well is played by a person who can live with that. Personally, I'd be happy to play one.

  3. I always thought it was Chet's fault: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ItsChetsFault