How much process is needed? PDF Print E-mail
If you have spent time in a few different IT shops, especially project shops, you probably have noticed something about processes. This is something that drives me bonkers about how people implement process. While this is designed to be somewhat humorous, this is potentially hazardous stuff and should be taken seriously…

Some places almost outlaw process - “we don’t need it” is the assertion.
Some places embrace process toward religious extremes - “too much process isn’t possible” is the claim.
Some places take what’s just right - and only what proves to be worthwhile pursuing. 

This Goldilocks process conundrum is rampant - and there seems to be a lot of confusion. Without waxing philosophic here, let me share the trick to process implementation:

Only implement enough process to remove the defects you need to remove in order to achieve quality.

Now for lawn care providers, quality is relative - defect free is at a macro level and can be readily achieved. You probably couldn’t tell the difference between a 45 minute professional lawn care service and one that took 4 hours to complete the same work. The perceptible quality gains are minimal.

Aircraft or medical equipment manufacturers - different kettle of fish. These guys work on microscopic defects that simply can’t be tolerated. The slightest defect can cost lives.

The amount of process needed for the lawn care service and the aircraft engine maker are at polar ends of the spectrum. The point is this - process isn’t the end game; defect management is. Implement enough process to control the defects necessary for quality and continuous improvement and only that much process. Not enough will cost you dearly - too much process will hinder speed and agility.

The lesson - constant experimentation is the only holy grail in process management. The more you measure and monitor your results, the better able you’ll be to judge your process level and how far you’ll need to go.
 
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