|Research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs|
The limits of IT process management
Defined, repeatable processes are a major focus of the IT industry. But there are limits to what can be achieved by process management alone.
Successful IT requires a blend of experience, skill and control. Capturing this in processes allows it to be shared, preserved, and improved. This reduces reliance on scarce skills, improves quality, and improves control.
Process management makes a lot of sense. Major IT standards, such as CMMI and ITIL, are based on process management. But there is a downside to IT process management that we need to avoid.
Tacitly, a lot of us who work in IT know this. The benefits of process management can be swamped by bureaucracy and general process paraphernalia. At worse, process management can sap the life from IT.
To get the most from process management, focus on repeatable, standardisable activities, or areas that require a high level of control. For example, support calls benefit from defined processes, but systems analysis less so. Aim for the 20% of processes that cover 80% of the work.
Complement process management with other techniques. Think about organisational structure, and how to retain individual experts and teams. Measure the outcome of projects, and the ongoing state of your IT, independently of measuring processes.
Accept the limits of process management. Do not let your desire to manage quality through processes stop you from measuring outcome. Do not let the need for processes stop you driving for results. And most importantly, never let your enthusiasm for defined processes undermine the value you put on the skills and abilities of your staff.Next: Make CMMI easier and more effective
Minimal IT: research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs.