Saturday, November 19, 2005

End of Process? I'm going to be simplistic on this one.

Read Ross Mayfield's recent post about The End of Process with interest, and immediately headed over to Ethan's The Vision Thing to see what he thought. I was right. He had commented on it (and disagreed as I suspected.)

Ross' piece seemed a little "Cluetrain-y" to me, in that there were lots of sweeping statements about how companies are operating that didn't really resonate with me, even thought I've worked at plenty of f&*^ed-up companies. (Here's my review of Cluetrain where I expand on this thought.)

The primary elephant in the room of his post is quite simple: processes can be and should be designed to include regular process reviews. The idea that once a process is created it is immutable is false. Not only that, but the idea that a deviation from process can't be approved and signed off on is also false. Processes I have encountered have almost always had a, yes, process for deviating from the process!

The other thing I have found about process is that it is not the failing only of executives to rely too much on stagnant and outdated processes, which stifles innovation and slows development. My experience is that all along the chain people can and will use process as the excuse. A dysfunctional company finds many ways to demonstrate its problems. Including clinging to process to avoid moving forward. Having worked in dysfunctional companies before I can say that lack of process contributed to more chaos than process. And that in a dysfunctional company, with lack of clear strategy or reliable leadership, chaos can never be productive.

Fixing the process won't fix the problem.

Eliminating the process won't fix it either.

Process is a great scapegoat, but that seems like all it really is.

Rather nice place you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. BTW, why don't you change design :).
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