The beatings will continue until morale improves


Victory victorious at The Battle of Trafalgar. Better seamen, with better ships, using better discipline, better training, a better plan and better processes.

An interesting debate is going on over at BPM.com over a comment I made a couple of weeks ago about what processes should, and should not, be automated.

I keep going back to job titles. How many Directors actually direct, how many Managers manage, how many Team Leaders lead, and how many Supervisors supervise? Daily I meet too many captains charged with navigating the business who spend too much time (frequently all of their time) emptying the bilge, stoking the engines and plugging the leaks to do the job they are en-titled (my hyphen) to do.

The naval metaphor is chosen deliberately. Process optimization has been at the core of the naval service for centuries. The ship that could fire and reload the fastest would win. The crew that could make the best use of the wind would catch and take the prize. Everyone had a job that was well defined, expectations were clear and exceptions dealt with (alas) harshly. Efficiency, accuracy and optimal use of resources were, and are still today, a matter of life and death.

When the process machine is running well there is time to reflect upon what can be done to improve. When the status telemetry alerts us we have time to re-balance the resources and coach those who need it. When the data points us we can shift our business around the storm or catch the breeze before anyone else.

For the crew it is the “what am I doing?”: process automation for them is about delivering products and services with the utmost efficiency and accuracy. For the officers it is the “why am I doing it?”: it is about having the time to think about where they are going and how they can get there safely, quickly and cheaply.

“What” should always be automated. “Why” can never be automated.

 

About Kevin

In the past year Kevin has spoken at 20 conferences and seminars on a range of leading IT topics, including methodologies, business analysis, quality assurance techniques, governance, open source issues, tool interoperability, release management, DevOps, Agile, ITIL, from the mainframe to distributed platforms to the web, mobile, wearable and embedded systems. He is a much sought after speaker, recognized around the world for his provocative and entertaining style. Kevin is a 40 year industry veteran, holder of three technology patents and today is VP of Worldwide Marketing and Chief Evangelist at leading Application Development and Deployment vendor Serena Software. In the past decade he has been crossing the globe and has met with over 4,000 people. At Serena he works closely with industry analysts, the press, customers, partners and employees to exchange ideas about industry direction and business issues. He was born and educated in the UK and lives and works in the Bay Area, California.
This entry was posted in Business and Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The beatings will continue until morale improves

  1. Pingback: Solutions To Success. Yes, we are going somewhere. | Zabal Solutions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s