Monday, June 11, 2012

Process is a child of scale;

When your playing small ball, you don't need a lot of process. Just put them all in a room, close the door, and shove pizza under the doorway every few hours. Apply a little bit of heat, and then wait for results.

But, if you are playing with other people's money (OPM) and you are doing something that isn't trivial, then you need some process.

Process is a child of scale; that to have the latter inevitably brings the former.

And so what's a process? For sake of discussion, let's call it a transformer: Put something in; grind a bit; and whatever you put in is dramatically transformed into something wholly different. It's almost as if "miracle occurs here!".

Money, time, effort goes in; stir with a few steps and controls and policies, and there it is: DONE deliverables!

But transformers are tricky devices, suitable only for adults who think critically. There need not be more transforming capability than is necessary to get the results. That's where the scale thing comes in: larger scale, more at stake, more investment in process. And a little feedback is necessary to stabilize the process; in other words: no open loops!

One project I was on did something remarkable that I've come to appreciate: each new thing we did was preceeded by a process briefing. Someone got us all together in the war room; a one page map went up on the screen, and we stepped through it. Something of a dry run. Sometimes, we did some real-time editing; always we went around the room for concurrence. Did we have a "green board" and we could proceed? Or, did we have to bring someone along?

It's a great thing when a plan comes together. And, come to think of it, it's swell to have a plan, a process, a roadmap...whatever you call it, but it's the guidance for the whole crew.

And, more scale, more people involved, more attention is paid to the network, the workflow, and the validation.

And, more pizza!

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