I would appear to have wound some people up with my off the cuff comments about process and the sometimes aggressive use of the word in business.

Thankfully Denham has a post which helps clarify my irritation.

Being process driven:

  • Emphasis is on inputs / outputs, engineering and efficiency, (faster, better, cheaper)
  • Focus on sequence, flows, authority, connections between activities and roles
  • Work is well-defined, everything is measured, concentration on forecasting and prediction, boundaries are fixed, stable & clear
  • Strong processes are found in procurement, warehousing, QC, billing, receiving, shipping
  • Rules rule, coherence is key, workflow is ordained
  • Design is a dominant paradigm and re-engineering works!

Living the practice

  • Context is king, a holistic POV is valued
  • Self-organization reigns, prediction is down-played
  • Concerns are wider than economics and efficiency, e.g. loyalty, customer relationships, reputation and doing the 'right' thing is key
  • Meaning, judgement and sense-making over-rule the rules
  • Emergence, agility and experimentation rather than design is the way to go, follow the flow
  • Dialog and distinctions are valued over directives and documentation
  • Relationships and communication are key
  • Meaning, awareness and understanding are valued and rewarded
The imposition of the former view on environments predominantly exhibiting the latter view is where things get ugly - especially when it is done by people who actually understand neither environment fully as is often the case!