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Why Your Process Stinks

You have seen it numbers of times. A squad of High School cheerleaders leading a stadium filled with employees of a company:

“We got Process! Yes we do! We got Process, Better than YOU!”

Yeah, never!

However, for all of the excitement about Process, Standards, and Automation, why are they so maligned, mistrusted, and mocked? To understand, we have to recognize what Process, Standards, and Automation can do. More importantly, we have to recognize what it cannot do!

First, to create a Process or Standard, you have to know how something works. Too often, a Problem is defined and the knee-jerk response is “There should be a Process / Standard for that!”

Process and Standards arise from a Solution; they do not create one. In the same way that they do not create a Solution, they are not a replacement for one. Their best use is to socialize it to the larger audience. Have a Creative type solve the problem, then identify ways to standardize that Solution into a Process.

Second, if someone cannot solve the problem, they do not need to be creating Process or Standards for the one who can (or likely did). With due respect to the Process Engineers or Standards Officers, if these topics excite you, then you need to be involved in their enforcement (not creation).

There are important roles in review of metrics and enforcement. Frankly, without metrics and enforcement, Process, Standards, and Automation have little value. Why set milestone if there is no intent to determine whether or not your meet it? Process without a measure is usually worse than none at all!

Finally, these topics (Process, Standards, and Automation) follow and support the Creative exercise. Without them, Solutions usually lack historical reference and are high cost. Without Solutions, they dissolve into wasted energy and pointless meetings. Used correctly, they lend repeatability to your organization.

Remember these points the next time that someone tells you: “There should be a Process for that”. If you deliver the Process without first identifying the Solution, your #ProcessWillStink too!

Check out my first five Process Laws.

Feel free to leave comments or interact with me on Twitter: @SwamiDaveSays .