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Apr 25

Seth Godin on Process

Seth asks ‘Why are you afraid of process?‘   Does it get in the way of intuition.

I dislike and yes, sometimes fear process because often they are used to avoid making hard decisions.   Or because they make it harder to do things differently.

There are all kinds of processes in this world.  I use processes every day to help me get things done faster and more effectively.   But I refuse to let those processes substitute for intelligent decision-making.  I’ve so often seen processes waste time and make the overall goals harder to reach, instead of easier.

For example, software architecture documentation.  There are document templates – that’s an example of a good process – it provides a framework for the vast majority of the common questions one might ask.  But then you try to fill it out, and in a broken process, there’s far more detail required in far too many sections that just don’t matter.   But according to the “process”, you can’t submit the documentation until every question has been answered.  Really?  Tell me, how does it matter whether this particular bit of software is ‘handicap-accessible’, when it is only going to be used inside an embedded device (imagine, if you will, the ‘next song’ algorithm on your iPod).

And yet there’s almost always some jerk who insists that you have to fill out the section explaining in detail why that particular part of the document doesn’t apply to you – because the process requires it.

There are good processes, and there are stupid processes.  At any point, changes to the world, changes to the business can cause a good process to become a stupid process, effectively perverting its original intent.
Those are the processes I fear.  The ones that make life harder, instead of easier.   And those are the ones that should be stamped out.

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