Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The End of Process?
Ross Mayfield advances an interesting hypothesis:
If a knowledge worker has the organization's information in a social context at their finger tips, and the organization is sufficiently connected to tap experts and form groups instantly to resolve exceptions -- is there a role for business process as we know it?He starts by quoting Clay Shirky:
process is an embedded reaction to prior stupidity.A couple more quotes:
Organizations are trapped in a spiral of declining innovation led by the false promise of efficiency. Workers are given firm guidelines and are trained to only draw within them. Managers have the false belief engineered process and hoarding information is a substitute for good leadership. Processes fail and silos persist despite dysfunctional matrices. Executives are so far removed from exceptions and objections that all they get are carefully packaged reports of good news and numbers that reveal the bad when it's too late.
John Seely Brown and John Hagel point out that while 95% of IT investment goes to support business process (to drive down costs), most employee time isn't spent on process -- but exceptions to process. Further, competitive advantage comes from how we innovate in handling exceptions. When something fails, informed and empowered employees turn to their social network. The informal network, or heterarchy, is where most business gets done.