This is a third part on a series on processes and tools. The series starts here.
In the last part of this series i made some observations about how our State affects the work and others around us. Examining the buzz happening at a workplace after a great conference or workshop and how it seems to affect everything around the people that visited it. And how new practices are sometimes very quickly taken into use after such buzz.
Somehow this effect seems to be very short lived. Bit by bit people start to circumvent new practices, taking shortcuts easier in short term, ideas are put into “not viable in the real world” bin, new found love changes to routine etc. All in all people seem to create a completely different state for themselves. And even if some people persist, the peer pressure to fall back into line seems to be huge.
I’ve seen the same happen as well to great processes. First a throughout work is done and with great energy, envisioning a new process. People creating a process are having a great time. The buzz is around. Energy again flowing and can be felt. Everyone seems to understand the great future in front of us all.
Then the process is released. In the best case people creating the process are only users of it. It will survive for sometime, carried by the enthusiasm of it’s creators. But even in this best case scenario, before long a problem is encountered and “real world” comes into picture. The obstacle is quickly circumvented and people seem happy.
At the same time a small bit from the corner of the process has been bitten of. A new habit of circumventing the process is introduced. Bit by bit these small new habits build up and the process stagnates.
It is like entropy has caught up with the organization. In fact this phenomenon was called process entropy by Jeffrey Liker in a speech he gave in Aalto University this year. No matter how good process you create the organization is complex enough entity that the entropy applies to it causing it to stagnate towards chaos. Without something continuously adding energy to the system no matter how much we try we can’t sustain the gains of improving process and ways of working.
The effect of the entropy is even worse if the people creating the process have been different from the ones living with it. As a new process is brought to people more often than not their state is far from productive. Not invented here syndrome raises it’s head and already the starting point is worse of than with people that created the process.
So it seems important to somehow help people change their state and combat this entropy by bringing in new energy to the system.
To be continued…