Good People…Good Processes

Good People, Good Processes

I’ve said before that people are more important that process.

I’ve said it in many different ways and in many different articles.  After every article, I receive responses from readers similar to these:

  • Processes are important.
  • Processes drive the business to efficiency.
  • Process drives execution.
  • After receiving these types of responses, I always have to go back and say the same thing…I agree. I agree. I agree.

    Good processes are important.  Good processes drive efficiency Good processes drive execution.

    I also receive a lot of comments about process improvement, six sigma, continuos improvement, etc etc.  All good stuff too.  John Bauer has some great ideas about process improvement. Glenn Whitfield has some wonderful thoughts on the subject as well.

    But…what is a good process?

    According to the IT Toolbox, a good process should have the following characteristics:

    • Transparent
    • Obvious
    • Complete
    • Efficient
    • Predictable

    Not a bad set of characteristics…all things that I’d consider making up a good process.

    People over Process (?)

    If I believe that processes are important, why do I still stay that people are more important?

    Because a process is …. well … a process.

    Process is a cog in the machine.  Process is an activity.  Process is something to be done.

    Can process exist without people? Sure it can.

    Do good processes always lead to good outcomes.  Not always but they give you a better opportunity to succeed.

    Can good processes exist without people? Not really.

    You can’t have a transparent process without people around that understand what should be occurring during the process. The same can be said of the other aspects of a ‘good process’.

    Good People Make Good Processes

    Rather than saying ‘process over people’ in the future, I think I’ll starting saying “good people make good processes”.

    Perhaps I”ll add one more word to make this:

    Good People. Good Processes. Good Strategy.

    Those three things can make an organization unstoppable.

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    • jfbauer

      Your triumvirate of people, process and strategy is a great wrap-up to balancing your points.

      One related quote that has stuck with me but I can’t remember where I heard it:

      Process drives communication.

      Think of a matrix-ed team of really good, smart folks … without some process to leverage, how can they achieve any goal efficiently?

      • Eric D. Brown

        Process Drives Communications…love that quote.

        Very good point John…without a process, a matrixed team is in a world of hurt.

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    • Pete Abilla

      In lean thinking, which has greatly influenced the agile movement, there are two pillars: respect for people and continuous improvement. Most people outside toyota do not realize that the respect for people pillar has spawned many, many “famous tools” that are ubiquitous now.

      Yes, great people and great processes produce wonderful service and great products.

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