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Defect management: getting bugs under control

Where wood is chopped, splinters must fall. This popular wisdom says nothing else than what is already well known: Everyone makes mistakes. Some mistakes have far-reaching consequences. Conversely, this cannot mean that all hell breaks loose every time you make a mistake, because pressure also contributes to mistakes being made. Defect management can help to better identify and correct sources of error in the future. How can that work ...

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Defect management Definition: Controlling the undesirable

In order to understand what error management exactly means, it must be clear what we mean by errors.

Error error) are what shouldn't actually happen. Regardless of whether we are talking about lapses, mishaps, mishaps or blunders: something doesn't go quite smoothly when a mistake occurs. You are that undesirable outcome of a process and deviate from the specified norm or the ideal state.

Errors can happen not only through active actions, but also through neglected measures. Who makes mistakes? Everyone. Humans are not infallible because they are not machines. Depending on what condition someone is in, what level of knowledge they have, but also which one unexpected complications show up, mistakes are made.

However, are only rarely individual reasons such as forgetfulness, ignorance, or actual intent is the cause of failure. On the contrary: Especially with errors that have major consequences, the error is mostly in the system.

Error management makes use of this knowledge and tries to one open contact contribute with mistakes to prevent future mistakes. For this purpose, the error management is divided into different phases:

  • Error detection: An undesirable problem is detected.
  • Fault diagnosis: This problem is clearly identified as a failure and the consequences are foreseeable.
  • Bug fix: An attempt is made to correct the error, to isolate the damage.
  • Error prevention: Systematic measures are introduced to prevent future errors.

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How do mistakes happen?

In order to be able to start correctly with error management, research must be carried out whereby errors arise. Certain circumstances encourage failure. Time pressure, for example, contributes to this, as does pressure in general. If the boss makes particularly high demands when jobs are at risk, this often has negative effects.

We get stressed and get tunnel vision.

In addition to causes such as pressure and expectations, errors can arise from:

  • communication

    Communication is disrupted, work processes are unclear, individuals do not coordinate with each other.

  • arrogance

    Anyone who believes he is infallible and does not make mistakes clearly tends to overestimate himself.

  • Exceptions

    The effect is very similar to that in the point mentioned above; Experienced employees take out special regulations by not complying with the usual standards. There is an overconfidence effect. What might still go well the first time has a signal effect. Other employees also overestimate themselves, risks are incorrectly calculated.

  • Bad defect management

    Neither is it properly documented, nor are the necessary conclusions drawn from it.

  • Missing standards

    Everyone does what they see fit. This leads to different and unspecified workflows.

  • Shortage of staff

    More work is distributed among fewer staff. A higher workload leads to errors, especially in critical areas.

  • Bad qualification

    The staff is unsuitable because they are not sufficiently qualified for the tasks.

Self-criticism: prerequisites for error management

So on the one hand it is normal that we make mistakes. On the other hand, there is often room for improvement. In order to be able to introduce improvements, however, is one good error culture is required. Companies often have problems here.

Paradoxically, mistakes can arise precisely when you want to avoid them. The reason for this is not infrequently a pronounced perfectionism. He can right now paralyze in unexpected situationsso that a decision is delayed.

But perfectionism also has a negative effect. Everyone wants to do the best possible work and so in the event of a failure it will be the same blown up to catastrophe. This leads to a generally tense working atmosphere in which there is no longer any room for experiments or ideas. Because they harbor the risk of failure.

Regardless of whether it is in the healthcare, nursing or IT sector: Anyone who practices error management in their company must first of all have the Prepare the ground for it and introduce a corresponding error culture. This means that employees must be relieved of their fear of making mistakes.

But that doesn't work if you have to expect sanctions if you do something wrong. That doesn't work either if the Supervisor sets a bad example and find a scapegoat for everything or get choleric if a mistake happens.

Every company, every manager and every employee must therefore start with themselves and work towards an open, i.e. self-critical handling of mistakes reach.

Avoiding errors through error management

Of course it is also clear: Not all mistakes are made. It makes a difference whether someone forgets to turn off the lights and the heating and both run all night or whether a pilot misjudges a situation and as a result the plane crashes and all occupants are killed.

For example, there are the following organizations in which the Dimensions of defects are many times higher:

  • Chemical companies
  • Fire brigades
  • Correctional facility
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Hospitals
  • aviation
  • Oil rigs

These organizations, named after the American organizational researchers Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe as High Reliability Organizations (HRO), therefore have special high standards of defect management.

But even if a mistake does not immediately end in human tragedy, companies have a legitimate interest in practicing good error management. If errors happen constantly, this can lead to a loss of sales.

This must be prevented. Consistently operated error management contributes to the fact that ...

  • the competitiveness of companies is increased,
  • Costs are reduced, as no material is wasted due to low missing rates,
  • there is an increased sensitivity among the workforce,
  • potential sources of error are known and damage is thus prevented,
  • a higher customer satisfaction is given, since fewer complaints are necessary.

The error management also shows how Communicates errors to the outside world become. Does a company show remorse? Does it promise compensation for the damage incurred? How accommodating is it overall when dealing with its customers?

Big differences - partly through legal requirements - can be observed, for example, in the VW emissions scandal if one compares the compensation in the USA with the behavior in Europe or Germany.

Good error management can therefore make a decisive contribution to the Image of a company to strengthen despite the damage.

The type of error management depends on the manager

Imagine you made a mistake. Not one that costs human lives, but you know that the customer may be dismissed. What should a corporate culture look like in which You dare to say you screwed up?

It is actually well known. A company with a positive, trusting working atmosphere pays off in every way. The employees are naturally motivated to do their best. You feel that you are in good hands, enjoy your work and contribute ideas.

Anyone who can hope to be treated with respect and appreciation is much more likely to be prepared to deal with mishaps and Confession of mistakesbecause he knows that his superior sees him as a valuable employee who will not be replaced by someone else at the first opportunity.

In order for error management to be successful, rules should be drawn up:

  • Approach

    Errors are not simply condemned, but seen as an opportunity for further development. This implies two things: if you make a mistake, you take responsibility for it. At the same time, valuable time is not wasted in the grueling search for culprits when there is an obvious flaw in the system. It is more important here to solve the problems.

  • communication

    Everyone stands by their mistakes, names them openly. This also applies to bosses who communicate their mistakes (if necessary) to the workforce.

  • correction

    The effects of the error are eliminated, and appropriate corrective and preventive measures are carefully monitored so that future errors are excluded.

Basically only are problematic Repetitive failure, that is, when the exact same problem happens the second time. Individual failure occurs when an employee makes a mistake despite being informed about the correct workflow.

Here a manager can find out the reasons for the personal failure within the framework of emotional leadership - such as lack of knowledge or lack of concentration.

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