Process or no process
Phtoto credit: @fallonmichaeltx
Processes kill innovation and creativity.
Processes break down silos, reduce duplicated work and increase productivity and efficiency.
Both can be true. Why?
If processes are rules, they limit you; however, if processes are guidance, they enable you.
In the fast-paced world of business, processes can often be viewed with skepticism. The notion of being tied down by rigid protocols and bureaucratic red tape can strike fear in the hearts of entrepreneurs and employees alike. However, it’s essential to understand that when implemented thoughtfully, processes can be empowering, leading to increased efficiency, collaboration, and, ultimately, success. In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of processes, their significance as a company scales, and how operational teams can play a pivotal role in designing and implementing effective processes.
The Need for Processes As a company grows, it’s natural to witness the emergence of silos and duplicated work within different teams. This lack of coordination and clarity can hinder progress and breed inefficiency. Recognizing these challenges. It becomes evident that processes are necessary to break down silos and streamline workflows. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that processes should never be implemented merely for the sake of having them. Instead, they should serve a purpose, assisting teams and team members to achieve their goals more effectively.
The Role of Operational Teams:
Operational teams play a crucial role in understanding the company’s needs and designing appropriate processes. By adopting a service-oriented mindset, they can listen to the concerns and challenges faced by various teams, identify gaps in existing processes, and work towards bridging them. Here’s a framework to guide operational teams through the process design and implementation:
- Identify Gaps in Processes: The first step is to actively listen to teams’ needs and pain points. By conducting thorough assessments and gathering feedback, operational teams can identify areas where processes can be improved or introduced to enhance collaboration and efficiency.
- Ideate and Prioritize: Operational teams should brainstorm ideas and potential solutions to address the identified gaps. Collaborating with relevant stakeholders, they can prioritize the most critical process improvements that will significantly impact the organization.
- Pilot with Smaller Teams: Before implementing new processes company-wide, piloting them with smaller teams is advisable. This allows for refinement, ironing out any issues or challenges, and fine-tuning the processes. Success stories from these pilot teams can serve as powerful testimonials for the benefits of the proposed changes.
- Operationalize It: Once the pilot phase is successful, operational teams can work on scaling the processes. This involves ensuring that the processes are scalable and can be easily adopted by a larger group. Also there is flexibility built in to allow some variances. Communication is key during this stage, as the team must convey the needs, benefits, and successes of the process changes to the wider organization.
- Retro and Iterate: Implementing new processes is an ongoing journey. It’s important to conduct retrospectives regularly, reflecting on what has been learned and making necessary adjustments. Operational teams should continuously communicate and share these insights with the organization, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Combining Methodologies Implementing new processes requires effective change management. The five steps outlined above combine elements of the British Design Council’s double diamond methodology, which focuses on understanding user needs and iterating solutions, with the agile development build-measure-learn approach. Additionally, a strong emphasis on sharing and communication ensures that the entire organization is aligned and aware of the changes taking place.
Processes, when implemented blindly, kill innovation and creativity.
When implemented with purpose and care, it can be transformative for an organization. Instead of fearing processes as hindrances, companies should embrace them as enablers of efficiency and collaboration. Operational teams, acting as champions of change, can leverage their unique perspective to design and implement effective processes that address the organization’s needs. By following a systematic approach, piloting changes, and fostering a culture of sharing and communication, companies can embark on a journey toward increased productivity, streamlined operations, and, ultimately, sustainability.
This week the Design Council published a reflection reflecting on 20 years of the Double Diamond, adding additional dimensions to the double diamond diagram.
The reflection piece is here.
The background piece is here.