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For a lot of years, I’ve heard people say “trust the process” and I’ve always wondered why anyone would just blindly do that. I need more information Timmy.

First off, does the process actually work? Or what if the process is hopelessly flawed and whoever’s tellin’ you to trust it doesn’t get that? Or maybe it was their idea and they’ve become the very definition on insanity, hopin’ that if they keep gettin’ people to try it, it’ll eventually work. Maybe it’s a numbers game. I don’t know, but whenever I hear that phrase, my blood runs cold.

Okay. That was a tangent. I’m not here today to trust a specific process, but rather to try and understand the ones that we’re liable to encounter on any given day. Or suggest where having a process might have streamlined things a bit. While I’m not particularly prejudiced against using any given process – just don’t ask me to trust it right off.

Sticking to the list

Over the years, when I was self-employed, I probably had processes that I used, but I never really formalized them. Maybe they were more like routines than actual processes in that regard. OCD can work for you if you let it.

Then I went to work for other people, and processes smacked me upside my head on a daily basis. I resisted at first, but eventually succumbed, if not out of reason, out of realizing that the process of receiving a paycheck was incumbent on adhering to organizational processes.

Plus, I think the thing that rang truest to me was the notion that yeah, I actually could get run over by a bus, and I didn’t want to leave others in the lurch. That’s just not fair Timmy. So following a process – as opposed to going about things willy-nilly in my own way – ensured that somebody else could step into my shoes at a moment’s notice and everything would continue to run smoothly.

That’s probably what organizational processes are most about. Succession and uninterrupted service to clients. That’s a good thing, for sure. And no process worth its salt goes undocumented. That’s a GGO.

Processes needn’t be draconian. Nor set in stone. Unless they’re like mechanized industrial scientific things involving formulas and such that if not followed, might result in something blowing up.

No, organizational processes should be open to suggestion and change. They are living documents, and when the landscape changes, people oughta be wise enough to realize that maybe a process or two should change as well. Elsewise, things don’t make much sense.

Accountability counts

As an example, here at <engine/> we have a QA process for initial setup for a site and another one when it launches. In the 18 months that I’ve been using it, we’ve changed a few things on those checklists that made sense in light of version upgrades and things we learned along the way. Pretty much ensures things go smoothly as we build out and fire things up. That QA process has earned my trust.

And boy howdy, I never thought I’d say this, but sometimes I wish more companies had processes in place. Especially the ones we interact with on a regular basis. It would make life easier for all parties.

I could recount several instances where it would have been helpful, but I won’t belabor the point – rather I’ll just reference a recent incident where having a process in place would have been very beneficial.

Just last week, I did a redesign of a page for a client based on what I thought were good design principles for creating a pleasant interface, which I thought would lead to a positive user experience. I guess – not surprisingly – they saw it quite differently. Seems I was literally not on the same page with them. At all. They had a completely different vision of what it should look like.

Long story short, the four or so hours I put in designing the page were all for naught. And likely because one or the other of us didn’t have a process in place.

I won’t point fingers, save maybe at myself, but having a mockup of what they wanted, or at least some kinda ‘go by’ page they liked, woulda been really helpful. When we work on a grander level, yeah, we get those things. It’s always good to have a floorplan. But in this case, I neglected to ask for one. It seemed a simple, straightforward task, but it twarn’t.

Lesson learned?

And the irony of it all is that they may well have had one that didn’t get shared with us from the git-go. It did somehow manage to show up – in all its glory – about half past the eleventh hour. Well past its time.

So we had to redo the whole thing. But there was good news. Their implementation was a lot simpler, and it didn’t take that long to fix. And more things got added as the day dragged on and their vision got clearer.

I know this isn’t an isolated incident unique to our organization. I’ve seen it happen too many times elsewhere. And it’s likely to happen again. We get in a hurry or assume facts not in evidence. Stuff happens.

But henceforth, no matter the scope of the project, I’ll do my level best to ensure that there’s some kinda something in place to minimize doing stuff twice.

I’m getting old Timmy. And life’s too short.

Processes are in place. Brent trusts them. Call us if you need help with yours.