The key to running an effective organization, we’ve been told for decades, is delivering work products through well-designed and -managed processes. Process is hailed as the path to organizational nirvana, in the form of repeatable, predictable results.
But CIOs who start process initiatives by designing processes and training staff in their use are akin to math students who enroll in differential calculus without first passing algebra and trigonometry. To succeed in any discipline, one must first master the prerequisites.
For any process initiative to succeed, there are, in fact, four prerequisites: (1) a process culture; (2) a clear understanding of the difference between processes and practices; (3) the ability to design, manage, and interpret process metrics; and (4) trust among everyone involved in the execution of the processes.
Without these prerequisites, no process initiative, whether it’s ITIL-based IT service management, a standardized systems development lifecycle, or an IT mergers and acquisitions playbook can succeed. Put these four fundamentals in place and success is almost unavoidable.