I love a standard set of rules to operate by. It’s how I do my email communication with prospects and clients. It’s how I don’t forget my keys in the car, or how I don’t lock myself out of the office.

Process is awesome, until it’s not.

Ugh, the meetings

One company I worked at had a daily check-in process. They called it a ‘stand up’ in their attempt to be agile but it didn’t really run like a proper stand up.

It ran like a water cooler meeting, where everyone started by shooting the breeze for ten minutes, then someone gave their report, which trundled on for…way too long. Then we moved to the next person.

That resulted in a 60- to 90-minute meeting every day that broke things up for some, or for me, started my day.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that the course of my day is determined by how my morning starts. If things are scattered and my routine is broken up then my whole day is significantly less productive.

Not just a bit less productive — I end up doing about 10% of the work I should be doing. I just can’t focus at all when my day doesn’t get off to a good start.

Getting things done

The real reason I dislike processes is that in so many cases they simply don’t help me get my job done. They often actually make it harder to get the work I need to done.

This is where many businesses sit. They take some process from some book they read and implement it. Only they don’t do it totally, so instead of a 10- to 15-minute stand up, they have a 90-minute one.

The process is totally broken, but at least it’s getting done, so it has momentum. Of course we never want to stop something with momentum — it’s already moving, right? And what on Earth will we replace it with?

Take some time this week and look at the processes you’re already using in your business. Are they really helping you get anything done or do they just have momentum?

photo credit: jreed cc

One response to “LOVE and HATE Process”

  1. Ginger Coolidge Avatar
    Ginger Coolidge

    Hi there, yes my last padded cubicle job had daily “scrums” as part of the agile way. Really, and blatantly, it was a way to checkup on people to assure they arrived by a certain time. I deeply resented it , it was always the head guys platform to rant on how you just need to get the work done and if you’re working a lot of hours, so be it, welcome to software development. Very encouraging, yeah? Don’t miss those days one bit. These days I’m grateful to work 100% from home. I must start my day with some quiet time , sipping coffee, catching up on social things before diving in to the “meat” of the day. That is my informal process. As my freelance work hopefully takes over sooner rather than later, I will probably have to get a little more structured since the “free” in freelance isn’t really about bouncing from thing to thing IMO.