Product over Process
Every organization prides itself in following the due process necessary to deliver the product. However, in reality Product drives all the decisions in the organization. As the saying goes, “All is well that ends well “, we tend to believe that all deviations in process are justified as long as we are able to deliver the product/solution to the customer.
Just walk into the bookstore and reach out to the Business/IT section, you will find numerous books on following the process. Join an organization and the first set of trainings always talk about following the process to deliver quality solution. At the start of project, the team management outlines the steps (process) for the project execution. I can safely assume (based on my gut-feel analytics) that every professional would have been part of at the least one of the above scenarios. If everything around us talks of process, it is truly a mystery that eventually product takes precedence.
Two instances in the recent time have provided me some insight into this issue. One was in a recent article on the contrasting results of the India England series by a noted cricket commentator, he quotes: ““If there is anything to take from this India vs England season it is that people will tend to be good at things they like doing”. He goes on say that within us we need to like what we do to actually succeed. Second was a book on Self-confidence. In the first chapter the author speaks of the power of our beliefs. Our beliefs dictate the outcome. Any amount of will power cannot overcome our beliefs. The aspect which is highlighted in the article and book is the inner belief and how the lack of it can actually result in failure in spite of all our external efforts.
As an individual we have a set of beliefs. We are guided by our belief system. Within the professional world, no amount of external effort can overcome the inner belief that at times we have to deviate from the process. We also tend to believe that sticking to process is being stubborn. More importantly, everyone cares about the final outcome and end justifies the means. Now, this belief system is partly self-created but mostly the information perceived from the outside environment. How many times has a manager appreciated the team for sticking to the process, even though the end product was not as desired? The first reaction is something was wrong and hence the solution went wrong. It’s the belief that process should always lead to an outcome desired by the team. Unfortunately, process is not biased towards the team or client. It is designed for a purpose, which may not always be good in the short term but will definitely be optimal in the long-term.
To review our beliefs w.r.t. Process, we need to recognize the existence of such a belief system. Every manager will project and quote, but only few follow. The information percolates from top to down. If something is not ideal at the bottom layer and the fix may be at the top. In my opinion we can address the situation by following some simple counselling steps:
1. Recognize the existence of the problem
2. Identify the scenarios in which we tend to overlook the process i.e. encounter the problem.
3. Form an action plan to self-instruct in such situations
4. The HARD part: In that moment( of TRUTH ), to actually stick to your action plan.
To amount of BPM tools or processes can solve the issue than a change in the mindset of the individuals and the collective teams. Now, I realize why the cricket world cup victory in 1983 is attached so much importance. Its because, it instilled the new belief that India can win. So, its upon us to lead the way for others.
Ready. Set. Go.
The opinions expressed in this blog are personal. If any relevance is found, it is purely co-incidental.