Results over Process

Timothy Johnson takes a swipe at methodologies in his post titled “Worshipping the Hammer“.  To be more accurate, he takes a swipe at those people who focus on process & methodology over results.  Timothy asks the following questions:

  • Are you spending more time arguing about process than you are about outcomes?
  • Are you posturing and positioning on methodology more than you are on results?

Powerful questions.

Timothy’s main argument of his post is that results should be considered over process.  Before thinking about the process/methodology that you will use, determine what the outcome(s) should be.  This is the same trap that many organizations fall into….to keep from falling into this trap, organizations should think about what they want to do before deciding how to do it.

As an example, consider the following scenario:

You’ve been tasked with reviewing your organization’s IT processes to find ways to make it more efficient.  What’s your first step?

Do you look for a methodology to use to make the organization more efficient?

Do you focus on on the process rather than the project?

OR

Do you determine what ‘efficient’ really means?

Do you try to figure out what it means to be successful in the project?

Of course, my vote is for determining what you are trying to do and what does success means in the project.  Timothy suggests that many method-heads would argue for throwing a methodology at the problem first, which I’ve seen happen many times.

Also mentioned in Timothy’s post is his new book, which is apparently about systems thinking…a topic I find very interesting.  I’ve just begun re-reading The Fifth Discipline (the new release) and love some of the topics presented in that book so I’m looking forward to reading Timothy’s new book when published.

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