Process Management and the Start Up
March 10, 2010
There is much argument about whether or not there is a place for process management frameworks in smaller start up sized organizations.
One of the key arguments that detractors use is that start ups must remain nimble. And that to stay nimble, start ups cannot have one hand tied behind their back dealing with the overhead of some fancy dancy process structure.
To me, that argument is only half right.
Certainly, you do not want to be a hugely bureaucratic series of silo’s where nothing ever gets done!
But I think that you are missing the point if you believe that creating bureaucracy is all that a basic process management framework is going to give you.
At its most basic, a Process Management Framework (PMF) helps you make things consistent and repeatable.
In other words, it can make it easier to scale, easier to on board new staff, and require less operational management.
Start up Companies often act as can-do Cowboy cultures. You spend 24 hour days fueled on caffeine and energy drinks to pull the irons out of the fire, get them tested, and send them out the door. Heroic efforts by the team and a case of beer when that last deliverable was hit.
These are actions of heroic proportions, all performed by individuals that no one else even knows how, let alone what they have done.
A consistent and repeatable process for many key activities provides a baseline that allows others in your organization, or even outside contractors, to help.
Growth? the team does not need to spend weeks getting the new staffers up to speed, the how, and the when are well documented and available. The senior staff then help out mentoring with the why and other issues.
That new product launch example I used above? perhaps beyond the engineering team, everybody from reception to sales could be able to assist the final debug and quality control, because the QC process / testing method was thought out documented.
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Photo Credit wokka via flickr