Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Process Mafia

In the software industry, of which I am a part, 'process' is a heavy word.

Everything must have a 'process'. From development to testing to design to hiring to visiting the loo, everything must have a 'process'.

Now, having a process is not bad. In fact, it brings a lot of order to an otherwise chaotic ensemble of myriad components.

There is a problem however. Whenever 'process' overtakes common sense, a disaster is in the making.

Processes are there to help in streamlining activities in an organization. Processes are really invaluable in predicting the outcome of a project, in helping to notice possible slippages early in the cycle and in ensuring continuity in the face of attrition among many other benefits.

Many people unfortunately treat processes as the end rather than a means to the end. And these are mostly managers. The kind who know less than a fuck about technology. For them it is more important to fill in your status report for the day than to finish off the critical bug that you are on the verge of fixing and you have just hit upon the breakthrough algorithm that legends are a part of.

Managers need to understand that processes are enablers, pretty much like themselves.

A manager who does not enable his team to complete the work at hand is not doing his job. A manager who is more particular about the endless meetings and reports his team must prepare is not doing his job. A manager who does not remove every obstacle in his power that is preventing his team from performing is not doing his job.

In the name of processes managers must never stifle creativity. This is the bedrock of good software. Processes surely help in creating good software. Only help. Processes by themselves will never create good software.

1 comment:

Srini said...

Well said boss, u got it right. Mgr should always try to help the team, by making them feel comfortable, by not imposing things on the team which they are not interested in or will not help them in completing their work.