A3 report for production defects in software development

I’ve been advised to use A3 report to get approval from management for a bug that has been raised in production stage. For past couple of month I have been working on a single page application based on AngularJS, Webpack and TypeScript. The application is an internal application which uses SSO to authorize internal staffs to perform some defined set of actions. Because of internal SSO issue, I made changes to the app. no surprise that unmeasured changes led to a defect in application’s performance. So I had to convince my manager that I know what caused the issue and what I need to change to make it work. However, being part of a live app, this change requires a lot of attention as we can’t make disruption to the service often. Hence, I need to be 100% positive as for the root cause of the issue and my proposed solution. But because the app needs to rely on SSO to respond and there are other services are involved it is very hard to be absolutely certain about the root cause of the issue and a way to fix that. So how do you convince your manager that there are some code changes that need to be done? The answer to that is to explain business effect of the defect in a way that it would give us leverage to make changes in production. So my manager asked me to use A3 report to explain the situation in a way which is easy to understand by other managers whom we need seek change approval from.

So what’s an A3 report?

It’s a problem solving method created by Toyota Motor Corporation using an A3 paper, hence the name A3. It is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle which is a high level and practical problem solving algorithm. Toyota proposes four rules to consider when it comes to generation of A3 reports. Rule #1 (activities): All work shall be highly specified as to content, sequence, timing and outcome. Rule #2 (connections): Every customer-supplied connection must be direct, and there must be an unambiguous yes-or-no way to send requests and receive responses. Rule #3 (pathways): The pathway for every product and service must be simple and direct. Rule #4: Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific method, under the guidance of a teacher, at the lowest possible level in the organization.

Considering the fact that A3 has been designed for car production environment, most of templates out there are not suitable for software development and specifically software production problem solving. So I designed a template which I believe can help you with your A3 reports, if you are ever interested to use one!

A3-report-template (MS PowerPoint)

Ramin Ahmadi
I am a full-stack front end developer with over 5 years experience in web design and development. I have worked with a wide variety of environments and languages including Angular, TypeScript, NodeJS, Restful API, Microservices, Atomic design, JQuery, Material design, Progressive Web Apps, DevOps, and many Azure tools. I make it a goal to automate myself out of routine tasks in my daily work. My motto is, ‘write human readable code, lean and clean’.

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A3 report for production defects in software development

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