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Processes are executed by humans

Processes are executed by humans
Photo by Chad Kirchoff / Unsplash

When something goes wrong, you should figure out why it went wrong.

Not to blame someone, but to avoid it in the future. In many cases, this means adjusting a process that avoids the error. While this is fine and necessary, there is a huge pitfall.

Processes are executed by humans.

And this has two implications. First, people have the biggest influence on your company’s success. If you don’t keep them motivated and happy, they don’t care about your process. Secondly, as humans, we are error-prone. We have limited cognitive abilities and can only remember or follow so many steps.

Both implications influence another. When you overcomplicate a process and use process definitions as a silver-bullet for everything, I assure you, you will demotivate your team members, as they usually care about the work and not about the process. On the other hand, when you do not take care of your people, your best process won’t save the company.

How to get out of there?

Work in the process, not on the process.

Perfecting a process is procrastination and distracting you from creating real value.

If your team doesn’t create the value you are looking for, look into what’s holding them back. Map out every single process step and write the time they take beneath it (This is called value-stream mapping). It can be an exact time, a guess, or even a range. This points you directly to your biggest bottleneck.

Start working on the biggest bottleneck. And only on that one.

It won’t be a process issue. It’s likely a people issue that cannot be solved by adding another step.