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Posts Tagged ‘Value’

I have worked at companies that were in start-up mode.  Describing the way they work would be “managed chaos” at best and everyone wears many hats.  Everyone works long hours and does whatever it takes to get the job done.  This is what it takes to be competitive.  When these companies start to grow and become successful, they get to a point when they need more structure.  After all, you can only survive working “without a net” for so long.  They build frameworks and processes and get more rigid about job responsibilities.  They introduce ITIL, Scrum and Six Sigma to measure process improvements and things do improve, at first.  Simply by paying attention to these things and making them important, things DO get better.  Then somewhere along the way, they stop focusing on the customer and start focusing on the charts or the procedures.  After all, when employees are penalized for bad data on charts or for breaking process, they do what their survival instinct tells them to do, manage to the data.  This is where the pendulum swings too far the other way.  Instead of employees focusing on innovation and adaptability, they focus on not getting in trouble.  They become trained NOT to stick their necks out or take chances, because risk breaks things.   Slowly the processes become bureaucratic and it is increasingly difficult to move projects forward.  They become victims of their own processes and everything has to be escalated to get things done.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of continuous process improvement and standard processes, but you must always keep perspective on your big picture goals.  Any good process should have an exception policy because there will always be exceptions and yes, there are appropriate times to break all the rules.  Process should be a tool to help you improve, not handcuff you.  Be careful when creating all this structure that you don’t stifle the things that enabled your success in the first place, agility, adaptability, and customer focus.

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