4 Ways Processes Can Prevent Efficiency

November 14, 2013 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Musings

4 Ways Processes Can Prevent Efficiency
By Christian Bisson

When working in teams, especially as the team is bigger, processes are what guides everyone, and helps everyone work together towards the same goal.

But have you ever felt as if the processes in place seem to add complexity rather than help? Here are some ways this might happen:

  1. Who does what

    Processes are not only about what should be done, but by who, and sometimes, that’s just no clear enough, which creates expectations that are not met, therefore confusion, frustration, and conflicts arise.

    In a struggle to get this clear, sometimes so much detailed/granular instructions will be given at the same time that people will get lost or confused in it.

  2. Billable vs non-billable hours

    Tracking productivity by calculating & monitoring how any hours each spend on projects vs hours spent on internal tasks is important to make sure people are working on what brings in the money.

    Non-billable hours include anything that’s not going to get a bill out of the door, meaning amongst other things: working on tools, template, processes, etc. This is just as much important since it affects all the work that’s going to be considered billable. If no importance is given to those non-billable hours, then everyone will avoid to contribute on any of the above elements, and nothing will get fixed or improved.

    Another negative effect this can have is how people record their time in their timesheets; since non-billable hours have no value, people who need to work on internal stuff will be reluctant to do so, or even worse, they will enter their time in projects so that they seem to work on billable tasks. This adds a whole level of lying/deceiving.

  3. Tools

    Sometimes it will be part of processes to use specific tools, whether it’s because of reporting, or more typically, because people are used to it. These tools are not always the best, and when forced to use them, will only slow people down, reduce motivation, and even completely prevent some to do their job.

  4. Inappropriate for certain projects

    Big chain of processes can be great and even absolutely necessary for big projects, or projects with typical deliverables. However, when you are tackling smaller projects, or retainers, well then processes should be adapted. You don’t want to spend your whole budget on internal processes and have nothing left to do the work!

Christian Bisson is a project manager from Montreal, QC, Canada. His PM experience is concentrated in the Internet world, and he helped deliver over a 100 projects over his PM years. You can read more from Christian on his blog.

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2 people have left comments

Very good points Christian.

I definitely agree that defining not just the what but the who is very important.

In my company, we also scale things down fro smaller projects to fit the needs.

Peter C Vetro wrote on November 15, 2013 - 9:54 am | Visit Link

Great post, Christian! And I, too, think that knowing who’s doing what is very important. Otherwise it just annoys everybody, and sometimes two people can end up doing the same task twice! And a good PM definitely has to be keenly aware of how many hours the team members are putting in for what kind of tasks.

Richard Larson wrote on November 18, 2013 - 1:40 am | Visit Link

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