22 February 2011

Bad Processes? Here's some tips

I started my project life working as a business process analyst, so I am always thinking about the processes that integrate and co-ordinate the various tasks and activities that push value out the end of the sausage maker.

Today Josh wrote a frustrated blog post calling for people to apply common sense to project and development processes.  He wraps up with a call to share out stories.

I'd like to share on with you, but there are so many.

Instead let me share a few techniques fro spotting problems in processes;

  • Every process should have an owner, if it doesn't have a clear owner there is no consequence for not following it
  • Processes when fully inspected should start and end with the same person
  • If a process isn't measured or quality assured it is either unimportant or unmanaged - either way there is something to fix
  • Handover points from one process operator to another always create friction.  These problems are often able to be fixed by improving relationships and the flow of communication
  • Processes are often stable over time, and as a result can, at some point, become legacy products without anyone realizing.  
  • Keep your eyes open for improvement opportunities and if process owners are not clear feel comfortable in driving the improvement yourself.
  • Process is always supposed to be about creating value.  Understand how each step creates value or mitigates risk.  Maybe you can come up with better alternatives.

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