So at work I’ve been going through the process of defining processes, and have seen many a power point and visio diagram cross my desk that just makes me want to scream. It seems that within any large bureaucracy a process is only as good as the number of pages it takes up when printed out. The number of twists and turns required to get any complex development project done is already fairly large, but when we pour on even more and more layers of paperwork and sign-off and approval, it only makes a bad situation worse.
Although lip service is given to improving processes, it seems that direct criticism of a proposed process is seen as a mark of the luddite – anyone who would dare criticize this great 50 page process power point presentation must surely not be interested in how much time you can save with a hundred extra steps! If only these process groups contained the people *doing* the damn work, and could take their knowledge and experience into account, we could actually be doing some good here.
My wife is a teacher, and it seems she’s running into the same sort of issues at her job as I am with mine. In LAUSD, instead of listening to the teachers and bringing best practices from the ground up, they have imposed “process” on the situation, and have worked to implement standards that break down the spirit and initiative of reformers within the system. The thought that one size fits all runs rampant, and because there is no effective feedback loop to the decision makers, all that happens is alienation.
I’m hoping, of course, that I can inject myself into the process of defining these processes, and provide some context to the decision makers within my company that will give them the insight necessary to build something that works, something that will be remembered years from now not as just another re-org, but as a moment of revolution. I don’t know how far I’ll get, but I’m certainly willing to try.