I was on a call and we had this discussion about, supposedly, 2 types of processes:
- Process as a “recommendation”: process says A-B-C but you can do A-C-B if you think it’s relevant. Maybe it’s good for a project.
- Processes as mandatory instructions: process says A-B-C, you must do A-B-C. It’s best for repetitive processes that need a lot of structure.
Ok… so one is more flexible than the other?
In (1) people use their expertise and experience to know what is best to do and adapt the process to their needs to get the best performance.
In (2) people use their expertise and experience to know that it is best to follow the process in order (A-B-C) to get the best performance.
So to me there is no such thing as a process for “repetitive / structured” activities or a “project process”. We rely on people using the process to know when to adapt and when to comply. The end goal being the same : how can I get the best performance.
We are in the business of creating shared understanding between functions so they can work together in the best way.
Describing a way to do a project as a process helps understanding all the tasks of the project and how they are linked. The role of the project manager is to understand these tasks and coordinate them so they produce what needs to be done.