What you need is smart process

Trashing, productive, and process work Smart process does ineed maximizes the productive work I do come across quite a bunch of projects. Some are managed by customers, others by me for customers, others managed by my outsourcing partners for me. One of my objectives is usually to improve the way of working so that trashing is reduced to a practical minimum and productive work maximized as much as possible in a lasting fashion. Well, the true goal is to maximize my margin, reduce the hassles, keep my sanity and peace of mind. Read: keep defects agressively down so that I do not have to work on done stuff over and over again (burning money that could have been better used), but rather can concentrate on new, horizon expanding stuff. All while delivering stuff that works so that customers are happy, production teams deliver what they have been asked to, and cold cash circulates for the benefit of all. Achieving the above mentioned goals requires "process work." What is process work? Process work represents the percentage of work the team will do to deal with organizing itself, communicating effectively, define and measure its way of working in order to improve it, communicate with the external parties, put tools in place etc. Process work is work you would rather not do if given the choice, but if not done will lead to so many bad consequences that you do it. Not doing it will sooner or later lead to massive amounts of trashing that in turn will send the project on a dead end downard spiral to Hell. Only those with sociopath and/or masochistic tendencies want to ever go there by choice, albeit lots of people do end up there because of the ignorance of the basics by their leaders (or lack of guts to be the whistleblower by the latter). What is trashing? I came across the concept of trashing in the work of Steve Mc Connell from Construx Software. The concept is general in nature and not specifically linked to software. Trashing represents the percentage of the work spent on jettisoning badly made parts, on reworking things due to defects, on dissipating energy for no clear purpose. When an activity has no clear objective, it amounts to trashing as well. Excessive amounts of process work are the same as trashing in my view. Trashing is like when you run in circles, not knowing what to do next. You may look busy, very busy even, but it is obvious to an external observer that this is non sensical. How much process work do I need? How much of it is an important question. Too little and trashing will increase dramatically quite fast, too much and you get yet another bureaucracy (the triumph of means over ends, as Alan Weiss would put it).. Large endeavors will require more process to keep trashing excesses at bay. Smaller endeavors will do with as little process work as is possible. Think in ROI terms when approaching the process work. Also, on the individual level, one may like the high productive work percentage of well run small projects and just hate the necessary significant process work of a well run large project. Well, one can also think that procrastination princes are equally at ease in any badly run project of any size! Should I be a process bigot? Hell no! What I have learned by now is that process bigots are fully unable to achieve anything meaningful. Achievers, get it done types, do understand the value of process but never do put process ahead of results. As an achiever you hate having to do things multiple times. You perceive time as the scarcest resource of all and having to do things the moronic ways makes you want to cry, or crush some skulls open. As an alternative, you could end up depressed, but skull crushing may prove to be more satisfying. This doesn't means that you should not learn carefully about process work. But rather that process shouldn't become an excuse for not getting results. . Keep an eye on the cooking pot Also, this is not a set and forget choice, you have to keep an eye on things so that the project doesn't degenerates into a huge chaotic money drain. How does the amount of process work evolves along the project? Well, this is depending on how the project is run. Let's have a look at several scenarios: Scenario 1 : let's' wing it or "Too little too late" Scenario 2 : process police rules or "Torqemada is here" Scenario 3 : it will be forever okay my friend or "Denial mode::ON" Scenario 4 : let's do this properly and keep our finger on the pulse I'll develop each of these scenarios in the next part of this article. See you soon! In the meantime, comments are welcome!