Sunday, June 9, 2024

[5 Highlights] Let process be implemented by those who practice it

In 2009 Yishan Wong wrote a series of blog posts based on his time at Facebook. 

His essay "Let process be implemented by those who practice it" advocates for a bottoms-up approach to implementing process where those who are directly involved in its day-to-day application are the ones to design and enforce it. This concept forms a cornerstone of my philosophy on operational leadership.

You should read and save the entire post. Out of fear that link rot, I've copy/pasted 5 key highlights here.

Read on, bookmark the original, and use the principles!

#1. only allow processes to be implemented which are specifically desired and put into place by those who will be directly involved in using it.

#2. Often, managers and executives suggest process because it will help them better command, control, coordinate, or communicate. New process should never be implemented in the service of these goals, because its benefit is illusory and often highly overestimated...

#3. On the other hand, individuals doing hands-on work (e.g. engineers) can easily recognize when it is appropriate to add elements of organization or process, as they have a more direct ability to see how the benefits would outweigh the costs. That is the only time when a new system of organization or process should be added.

#4. A process created and implemented by the individual contributors themselves is much more tuned to optimize the real work being done. A process designed by managers at best approximates the actual flow of work that it needs to govern, optimize, or codify. This is the source of many clueless and inefficient processes.

#5. What about coordination and communication? Don't managers need to do that? The answer is yes; it's one of their vital functions. However, process created to serve this should be process practiced amongst managers, and not imposed on individual contributors.