A process is not scary – a bad process is

One of the big misconceptions around the concept ‘process’ is that it is scary, cumbersome, leads to more work and flat-out boring. Process is seen as the enemy of creativity, of innovation and even as the nemesis of fun at work.

I like a good process. There I said it. In the spirit of Lean there are many reasons on why well designed, documented and trained processes are key, but one reason for me is actually the most humane.

If you have solid processes, you don’t have to worry about them anymore and you can focus your time somewhere else. I once worked at a company where we would raise prices one or two times a year. And every time Finance started discussing ‘price’ many team members rolled their eyes. It was a pain in the behind.

But when we finally took the time to once and for all write down what we did (map our current state) we were able to identify significant waste and could design a future state. One of the best outcomes of this kaizen event was the SOP (standard operating procedure) that came out. Next time when Finance started talking, I could pull up my action plan, fill in the desired effective date and in an instant, everybody knew what to do and when. A simple 15 minute review once a week was enough to make sure we were on track.

And the biggest benefit of a solid process? If you don’t have to worry the process, you can spend way more time on the actual content of the task at hand. Our new process helped us spend more deep work on the strategic pricing with proper price performance charts, rather than debating which announcement letters go to whom and who signs… problems solved!

Need help mapping your current state or dreaming up your future state?