Processes are not enough. They require a structure to implement them. The structure consists of both, the human beings and / or the software. For a successful implementation of the process, we need to understand the structure and its role. The process defines the requirements. The architecture and design are important for the implementation. In addition, it is very important to build right kind of culture / value system and habits in the structure.
There are two types of organization structures. The formal, hierarchical structure is based on the concept of span of control. This is the visible structure as shown in the organization charts. There is a more subtle, dynamically changing structure, with a web of relationships, based on the concept of span of influence. Every member of the organization belongs to both these structures, giving a sort of matrix structure to the organization. Though the structure based on span of influence is not readily visible, yet it is powerful enough to affect the working of the organization. It is worthwhile being aware of, not only the formal structure, but also the informal one.Process-driven organizations tend to rely more heavily on the formal structure, placing heavy emphasis on the documentation and religiously following the set procedures.To become process-enabled, an organization needs to take care of not only formal structure but also the informal structure. We will discuss more on this later.
Last time we saw that there are three types of organizations, viz. process-starved, process-driven and process-enabled. Their typical characteristics are given below.
|Focus on innovation||Focus on process||Focus on users|
|Plethora of solutions||One solution fits all||Solutions to meet the need|
|Continuous change||Change resisted||Change welcome|
|Virtual absence of processes||Insistence on formal process||Informal processes accepted|
|Users may sometimes be lost||Users feel constrained||Users enjoy working|
Process and innovation are the two opposite but complementary forces in all human endeavors, including organizations. Processes provide continuity and stability, whereas innovations provide change and growth. A delicate balance is required between the two to ensure smooth progress. Process is the body and innovation its soul. One is not complete without the other.
Organizations, when they start are small, agile and quick to respond. They have no time for processes. As a result, they are starved of the benefits of processes. Once they start growing, they can either remain process-starved or adopt processes. The risk is to borrow processes without considering how it fits into their current culture and ways of working. As a result, they become process-driven. There are only a few fortunate who evolve their processes to suit their unique needs and become process-enabled. Some of the important characteristics of these three types of organizations will be given next…
In last 40 years of working with various industries of all shapes, sizes and cultures, I have come to the conclusion that there are basically three kinds of organizations. Majority of them are either process-driven or process-starved and a few which are process-enabled. It is a great pleasure to work with a process-enabled organization. In coming days, I wish to share what distinguishes a process-enabled organization from the others and what makes them better. I am looking forward to receiving comments and experiences from the readers.