What do I mean by ‘process fiddling’?
Implementing ideas as they come in. You hear or read something and implement it in the company or team, sometimes with external support, without considering whether the prerequisites are actually given. For example, it makes no sense at all (in my opinion) to implement a discovery delivery process in the team if you don’t have a true cross-functional team with a certain maturity.
Ad-hoc troubleshooting. Basically, solutions are sought here for symptoms instead of examining the root causes. This is not wrong per se. It’s only when the problems keep coming back that it’s time to start looking for the root cause. In general, I am a great fan of searching for the most powerful leverage point, because otherwise a lot of effort is usually in vain.
Overloading the system with too many and too big changes. Everyone has ideas and wants to make a difference. There are enough problems anyway. People are all rushing off, initiatives are being launched. Unfortunately, there is only a finite amount of time for all of us and we can’t do everything at once. This leads to a situation where nothing can be followed through properly and initiatives fizzle out again. In the worst case, total chaos breaks out.
Blind trial-and-error. Today X tomorrow Y without systematically learning from experience and also gaining insights from failed experiments. But this is essential if you want to get better in the long run.
Expecting changes to work right away. Of course, no one ever says this directly, but the willingness to take the necessary, painful path is often very limited. However, it is usually the case that - whatever the approach - things don’t work so well first, because as a team/company you naturally have to practice first and people need time to get used to new ways of working.
So what to do with these issues now? My suggestion:
- Use a Work In Progress Limit also for change in the company / in the team.
- Experiment systematically, for example with a Continuous Improvement Board
- Use System Thinking to find out the causes and to identify the most effective approach
- Question approaches and ideas: What are the prerequisites for this approach? What are we still missing?
- Consciously name learning phases with “We are practicing X right now”.
I’m sure there are still lots of good ideas…