2012-04-12

Why didn't I know about it?

Why do most organizations, especially mid-level start-ups, have complex processes that virtually dictate how things must be done? And usually why is there a high level of discontent/contempt for processes among employees?

Because when a manager asks "There was a problem? Why didn't I know about it?" the right answer is "Because you were not there!". Sadly, the usual response is to add more cruft into the system to "ensure that management becomes aware of a problem as soon as possible".

So now you have the team wasting time preparing and sending status reports by email to the manager, whose email software automatically filters these reports to a separate folder that he ignores, until the next time when there is a problem and he asks "Why didn't I know about it?".

This time the status reports have to be consolidated by the Team Lead into an spreadsheet, with "issues" marked in red, so that the manager can see them "at a glance".

Rinse, lather, repeat, until The Process becomes a nightmare of statuses, reports and meetings that drain the resources and productivity of the start-up.

No doubt, every organization need a process to ensure that team members know what they should be doing, and others know the progress of each team. The most effective process is one that achieves this and gets out of the way. The key to this, I believe, is to maximize automation, where team members do not have to spend more than 5 minutes in their day on updating status, and all reports are generated on the fly for anyone who wants to see it.

And a manager most definitely should not require a process to know when something went wrong - he should have seen it coming before it happened.

1 comment:

Meghadri said...

Ya thinks that in the local environment staff will feel comfortable to escalate issues, blocking issues, to their managers?