"If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing."
- W. Edwards Deming
I've found myself thinking a lot about process recently.
Creating and documenting processes in startups is hard, for several reasons. First, it feels like time unwisely spent. A startup has to move so fast that it doesn't have time to think about process. Secondly, things change in startups so quickly that a process is going to quickly become obsolete, so why bother? And lastly, sticking to process takes discipline. When that discipline isn't there (especially from the leaders of the organization) then any process becomes unused and wasted.
On the flipside, having too much rigid adherence to an inflexible process can definitely hamper creativity and innovation.
So what's the right amount of process, and how is it kept relevant?
The conclusion I'm coming to is that it's important to create a process for process.
What I mean is that everyone in a startup agrees that:
If you disagree with point #1, then you might as well stop reading right now, because it's way outside the scope of this blog to debate whether the existence of process is valuable to an organization. But the 'right amount' of process is way trickier. I believe it is "the minimum is that gets the job done in a repeatable way." Note that I didn't say efficiently repeatable. It just has to be repeatable -- inefficient is OK to start.
Where I find that things usually break down in an organization is in between steps 2-4.
For example, with a clunky, inefficient initial process: When the Minimum Viable Process is clunky, it will feel broken. It's really easy to throw the whole thing away at that point, and just have every person fend for themselves. So recognizing that it's better to create a quick but clunky process than none at all is a big step. Training ourselves to change our initial reaction is important: If a process doesn't feel right, it does not mean the process should be abandoned. In fact, just the opposite: it means more thought has to be put into making it better.
That gets to point #3. It has to be possible for anyone in the organization to suggest improvements to the process. I think of it as an A/B test: Process "A" is the agreed upon way of doing things. Anyone can announce a challenge to that as an experiment. The challenger -- process "B" -- has to work better than A when it's tested for it to unseat the status quo of Process A.
For this to work, everyone in the organization has to understand and agree that there will be challenges to the status quo process. Those challenges have to be actively encouraged to come from anyone in the organization. It's important to communicate that Process B experiments are only a test so people don't freak out that their agreed-upon process has suddenly changed.
And one last, really important point: This workflow assumes there's already an initial process in place. I've found that the most chaos comes from having no agreed upon defined process for something at all, where each stakeholder is just doing his or her own thing in their own way, and everything feels like an experiment. In that scenario, the best way to get into this workflow is to make a strawman of an initial Minimum Viable Process, iterate on it quickly with the stakeholders until they agree it's good enough to try as a starting point, and then make that Process A, ready & waiting for a challenger that's better to unseat it.
If you've ever hired (and had to fire) anyone, you probably realize it's painfully obvious that a person's resume has just about nothing to do with how good a candidate that person will be for any given job.
That's why I've found a better way, for which I, along with the co-author Dwight Dunton, have applied for a patent.
It all starts with CraigsList (www.CraigsList.org), an absolutely phenomenal site that has a bulletin board for job postings in just about every city nationwide. CraigsList is one of those sites that is life changing. CraigsList enables people to connect in ways that no other site does. Your life will truly become transformed once you know about CraigsList, whether you just have to get rid of an old sofa, sell or buy a house or car, or hire someone for a job (or find one yourself).
I call this hiring method "self selection". Instead of you spending time looking through resumes, instead you are having job hires self-select themselves. Think of it as Darwinism in the job market.
So the first thing you do is put a job posting on CraigsList. For example, let's say I was looking for a web designer. The job posting would look something like this:
If you've ever hired (and had to fire) anyone, you probably realize it's painfully obvious that a person's resume has just about nothing to do with how good a candidate that person will be for any given job. That's why I've found a better way, for which I, along with the co-author Dwight Dunton, have applied for a patent. It all starts with CraigsList (www.CraigsList.org), an absolutely phenomenal site that has a bulletin board for job postings in just about every city nationwide. CraigsList is one of those sites that is life changing. CraigsList enables people to connect in ways that no other site does. Your life will truly become transformed once you know about CraigsList, whether you just have to get rid of an old sofa, sell or buy a house or car, or hire someone for a job (or find one yourself). I call this hiring method "self selection". Instead of you spending time looking through resumes, instead you are having job hires self-select themselves. Think of it as Darwinism in the job market. So the first thing you do is put a job posting on CraigsList. For example, let's say I was looking for a web designer. The job posting would look something like this: SEEKING: The best web designer around. We are looking for a talented web designer for a project. You must know Flash and some PHP. We are a growing firm (etc, etc). Please send some samples of sites you've designed, along with a paragraph describing what makes you unique (especially as compared to everyone else who applies). Note: Please do NOT just send your resume with a blank email. It will be discarded. Now, from that CraigsList posting I may get 100 responses. And what you might usually do is sort through those 100 responses to find a good candidate - a process that's terribly inefficient. But instead of doing that, the moment a response comes in, I sent back a form letter email with a series of questions. In this case that email might look something like this: Dear XXXXXX, Thanks for your interest in the job. Can you please tell me: a) Have you ever worked with Flash? Please provide some of your sites that show examples of Flash. b) Have you ever worked with PHP? Please provide some of your sites that show examples of PHP. c) What are your salary requirements? d) Please do a quick project for me. My current site is www.DROdio.com. Please tell me how you would redesign the site (or if you're especially motivated, do a quick Photoshop redesign). Take as much or as little time as you wish. Thanks, DROdio Point "D" is especially important here. This is where the self-selection begins. About 60% to 80% of the initial people won't be motivated enough to do this homework assignment. And that's fine by me! I don't want to hire those people anyway. So out of 100 initial responses, i might be left with 20 to 40 people, and now the 2nd main part of this process kicks in: I get to see what kind of work people will do BEFORE I hire them. It sounds so obvious, but if you've ever hired anyone, you've probably had that experience where they start their job and you realize they are lacking some key skill for the job!!! I.e., a receptionist who doesn't know how to type, etc. By having the candidate do the job before they're hired, you're eliminating this element. Out of the responses, it'll become very obvious who the top 10 candidates are. And this is where the 3rd key element of the process comes in: the interview. Instead of a normal interview, I take the top 10 responses and give them an even bigger project. So for our web designer, that email might look like this: Dear XXXXXX, I really liked your work from your last email, and I'd like to invite you in for an interview. But instead of a standard interview, ours is a bit different. I have a more involved project I'd like you to tackle. And I'll pay you a token amount for doing the work - $30. When you come in for your interview, I want you to showcase your work to me. So here's the project: Please design a simple one-page site for a new condo development. Again, you may spend as much or as little time on this assignment as you wish. If you have questions please let me know. Regards, DROdio So now, I'm asking them to basically do their job before they're hired. And if I interview 10 people and pay them $30 each, i'm out $300. But that's far, far less than the cost of hiring the wrong person. And there's our hiring process. If you're hiring a marketing person, you'd tweak the "jobs" the candidates do for that job, etc. It works phenomenally well and it's low-cost to you, the employer, while allowing the best candidates to rise to the top. Side Note: There's an opportunity to turn this process into a piece of software or better yet a web service, where all the responses are filtered using a special email address that makes everyone filterable and trackable through the web service. I know I'd pay for that, so you'd have at least one customer if you wanted to take this project on!
The Scope of HRD is to develop i,e. to increase effectiveness and potential of the individual, employees, roles, teams, inter-terms, and the organizations. Relevant HRD processes, help in enhancing effectiveness of these human units. However, it is necessary to have a formal and systematic way of achieving this. Such formal way of developing human resources is the HRD system. HRD system can be broken down into sub-systems. An integrated combination of all these sub-systems is the HRD system. We describe below the main HRD sub-systems.
1) Performance Management System :
Performance Appraisal (PA) system are widely used in the Indian organization. More recently these have been renamed as Performance Management (PM) Systems. The main difference between them is their respective emphasis and spirit, PA emphasizing more the appraisal aspect, while PM’s stress being on performance improvement. Performance Management required the competency mapping of the various important jobs, identifying competency required for effective performance on the jobs.
In both systems performance coaching or counseling has an important place. Indian organization have paid more attention or performance appraisal. However, in many cases in the absence of performance coaching performance appraisal or management system becomes a ritual. Larsen and Toubro, State Bank of India (SBI), and Crompton-Greaves were amongst the fist companies to adopt a systematic performance coaching. 2) Career System :
Career systems are concerned with the advancement of the individual employees in their careers in the organization. The first step is taken by introducing career development plans so that employees joining at an any point are helped t go through various experiences which may help them to move up in the organization and may give them opportunities to prove themselves capable of taking up higher responsibilities. For example, ITC prepares a career development plan for each employee within the framework of the organization’s business plans. The first input is a “base plan” under which each unit prepares a checklist of minimum common inputs that should be made available to each executive in the first ten years (approximately) of his growth, from induction through secondments, and specialized programmes to general development programmes and interpersonal effectiveness labs. Career planning is concernedWith charting career paths for the individual employees who have spent enough time in the organization, and have proved their competence. Succession planning is a part of this type of career planning. One of the most successful succession planning systems is in Hindustan Lever, where succession plans are prepared for all key roles several years in advance.