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Processes – why we avoid them

Even tough we design processes to improve our daily routine, people are still want to avoid them. I mostly saw this in Romanians, because I live in Romania, but people from other countries have it too.
Could be the programmer mind. I read once that the programmers are the laziest people. That’s why they try to automate everything and have the computers do their work. If you see a process like this, it can actually help you. But if you think that this only a new task on top of your existing ones or a wall for the common people and you’re special, then, yes, this was actually developed against you by mean old corporatist thinking style.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say that you work in a company with a pretty advanced, web-style interface, ticketing system. This is actually your interface to mostly everything you need, from ordering office supplies to report bugs in applications. Yup, all the internal company processes are in here. Now, you’re browsing the intranet and you read a page telling that your company just bought a corporate license to a totally new cool software that will come in very handy for you. All you have to do is click on a link “Request access to the download page”. But no, this is for everyone else. It just happens that you have a good friend in the IT department. So let’s start talking (through any known software of instant messaging)
You: Hi
IT friend: Hi
You: I just saw that we bought CoolSoft 3.0
IT friend: Yup, just happened. You really have to see what cool features they added
You: Nice! I want to install it too
IT friend: No problem. Just go to our intranet. Let me gave you the link
You: No, no, I have the link, the problem is that I have to request access
IT friend: So? Ask for it.
You: I was thinking that you maybe have the program so that I won’t have to request this. You know how much time takes these kind of things
IT friend: Nope, I deleted the kit after installing it
You: Maybe someone in your team … Pleeeease …
IT friend: Ok, let me check

Meantime another conversation happens between your IT friend and his friend and in the end you finally end up with a share folder from where you can download the kit. So, in the end you finally made it. You made completely unuseful a piece of software (company’s intranet) worth few thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) by simply wasting half an hour of your time and two other colleagues. Cool, isn’t it?

Let me tell you what would have happened if you have clicked that link. An automatic email would have been sent to someone (possibly from IT or management) with your request and your details. That someone would have seen the request, would have clicked another link and your request would have been approved. You would have received another email with the download link. Two minutes.

I agree that sometimes people are introducing processes just for the sake of it. Sometimes they even do some parts of the process, without even knowing why. I agree that’s stupid. But if you realize this, don’t try to avoid the process, challenge it. Try to change it, improve it.

There is a saying: rules are made to be broken. I would agree. And even these automated workflows agree. Sometimes, these rules have to be bended, and that’s why the human factor is involved to take the critical decisions.

I have to admit that I really like Java. One of the things that I like about is JCP. I really enjoy the idea that everyone can write a piece of software that will interoperate with all the software out there, without having to reverse engineer I don’t know how many programs, use proprietary protocols, that can change over night, without any prior notice etc. The standards are made to avoid all these kind of headaches. And the processes are the equivalent in the operational world.

So work with them to save your time. Challenge them to save everyone’s time.

Categories: Web
  1. behindblueeyez
    November 27, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    please try to be coherent next time 😛

  2. November 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    OK, I’ll do. Maybe was too specific on this post :).

  3. January 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    oh yeah, exactly what we all do, right Adrian? 😀 😛

    Good point, but face it, skipping isn’t ALWAYS bad 😀

    I’d love to be able to skip ordering a brand new PC/laptop : ))

  4. January 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Processes are (or should be) usually addressing somewhere over 90% of the cases. The main idea is not to make an exception out of everything. If that’s the case you better change the process.

  5. January 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Well I didn’t say I don’t agree 🙂

    It’s only for very, very less important things that I think skipping isn’t always bad.

    My example :

    The process says I should receive files from the client through the ticketing system…However, I generally tend to break this rule, as clients seem to be much more happy when they send them through e-mail, avoiding frequent issues with the system.

    I know it’s not wise, but it’s a lot faster and…for some unknown reason, from the very beginning, my clients were always complaining about the system 🙂

  6. January 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Of course, making the client happy is very important, but as I said, then you should maybe consider challenging the process. That’s where the problem is. If both parties are happy with the exception way, then make it the standard way.
    And in the beginning, people are usually complaining about everything. It’s in their nature and it is called resistance to change.

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