Invite inspection

My first job was in a small, family-owned bicycle shop.  I learned many lessons in that job that have stayed with me through the years. One of those lessons was that everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to minimize their impact by catching them before they cause a problem.

At the bike shop, we did this by having a second person inspect every bike before it left the rack. Even the owner and his first mate (I can think of no better way to describe his role) would call each other over to inspect their work.

There was no shame in having the second person adjust a screw here, or tighten a nut there. It was simply part of the job.

Later, as a software engineer, I learned the value of code reviews. The most intense code reviews involved a group of people inspecting your software, line by line, and providing helpful suggestions on ways to improve it during a code review meeting. It wasn’t just about finding mistakes (bugs), but about helping you improve as a developer. We all came out of these sessions better at our jobs.

Again, there was no shame associated with the number of bugs or suggested improvements identified. It was accepted as part of the company culture.

Yes, these inspections took time. Yes, they involved someone looking over your shoulder to inspect your work. And yes, they were worth it. Every time.

How is your work culture? Are you working as a team to produce a better product? Are you inviting inspection of your work? Or are you rushing through your day, hoping you don’t make mistakes, and hoping even more that nobody will discover them?

Invite inspection and open yourself to the feedback.