Process over Product! What was I thinking?
A few months ago, I had blogged about the importance of process over product. Product over Process . I believed strongly in the importance of having a process and adhering to it strictly at all times. In the blog, I put the blame squarely on the managers who seemed to push for the end product and ignore the process conveniently. As a developer, my sympathies was with all those developers whom I projected as the noblest of all. Sense had to knocked into my head and it happened today.
I visited a gadget store for purchase of washing machines. I had carried along a shopping bag while visiting the store. On our return back home, we just realized that the shopping bag was left back in the store. The store was closed on our return. We decided to visit back the next day and collect it. I was in for a shock. When we went to store today the store manager claimed that the bag was never collected. I was outraged and vented my anger at the staff. 😡 The manager stated that they have a process and they will be unable to help much as we had no token for the bag. I insisted that process is to accomplish a purpose and not to deceive it. I argued vehemently for the manager to break the process and assist me in checking the cctv footage, the purpose of customer satisfaction. The manager kept stressing the process and how it was sacrosanct. I was livid. But, I was one who had earlier vouched for adherence to process over product. What was I thinking? 😕
As a customer, I never cared for the process. My sole intention was the resolution to my problems. I was fixated with the end product/purpose to be served. Process to me, as customer was only an enabler in fulfilling my purpose. Is it not the same with the customers at my work? As I was part of the team which served the customer, I failed to understand the emotion of the customer. The importance of the end-product to the customer over the underlying process, came across as customer’s lack of understanding. Now that I was in the shoes of the customer, I could feel the frustration when the same process was thrust over me, instead of resolving the issue.
Perspective. Every argument, every situation, every viewpoint depends on the perspective in which it is seen. We should never dis-regard a view-point as it could be of utmost value from that person’s perspective. Experience teaches that no one is always right and every rule has an exception.
So, with this personal experience I decided to change my viewpoint and give the importance to product over process. Well there was a twist to the tale.
As stated earlier, when I requested to view the CCTV footage the manager clearly denied it. The manager inspected and claimed that the footage showed that we had not carried it into the store. My anger boiled over and asked permission to view my footage. Again the process stops me from accessing the footage without the legal complaint. I had to leave the store and prior to going to the police for help, decided to check with the nearby store. Its safe to guess that, I had left the bag in the previous store. It was in the earlier store where the security did not give us a token for the bag. Process was not followed in the store where the bag was actually left, as the security failed to hand over the token. But, my purpose was served when I visited that store. The retail store which stuck to process made me angry and frustrated. I felt that my purpose was not served by the manger in the retail store.
Process still triumphs over the product but perspective and emotion impacts our decisions. Its definitely a rule(process over product) which I still vouch but with the rider that product to customer holds the complete value. Respect the perspective – the developer’s, the manager’s and the customer’s.