Thursday, May 18, 2017

Simple isn’t always that simple

What problems of your customers are solved because you execute your processes?
That’s my main question when I help organizations with improving “managing by process”.
In the end, a process is just a means. A means to deliver a result which hopefully solves the problems of your (future) customers.
By keeping the focus on that problem to be solved, I hope to prevent working on useless processes.  
And it helps you to put process improvement ideas in the “does it help to improve the process result?” context
But, as there are more roads that lead to Rome. also a process result can be reached in more possible ways.
And sometimes that might lead to complex solutions, Solutions that work, but could also have been simpler.
My experience is that, when you look to a problem with a certain experience and knowledge, it is sometimes hard to see other ways. Other ways that might be far less complex.  Do you recognize that?
That’s why I love processes; they combine people with different knowledge and skills. All with their own “simple” solutions.
To impress, I also like to say that I prefer simple solutions.  But suddenly I had to think about a funny situation from the time I was still at school.
In some way I ended up at  pre-university education (not sure if this is translated well from Dutch). That’s where I learned all kind of theoretical stuff. But in the mean time I was quite jealous of my friends.
Most of them were at schools where you learn practical things like woodworking, welding or repairing cars.  So, after quickly finishing my homework, I spent most of my times in sheds to, for example, working on mopeds.  
At one time Mountain bikes were the new hype.. And I and my friends all owned one. We thought it would be cool to know who was the fastest, so we all had bought a digital speedometer. You know, with a little magnet in the wheel.
To configure that speedometer well, you had to enter the circumference of the wheel. And me, as the smart guy from pre-university education, had learned a formula for that: 2πr
So I grabbed a measuring tape and tried to measure the radius of my wheel, Which wasn’t so easy for a bike without a kickstand. And with an all-terrain tire, what is actually the radius?
But finally I could use my fancy calculator and was able to calculate the circumference.  I proudly asked my friends “Shall I do it for your bike, too?”
“No” said my friend Jeroen. “But please throw me that measuring tape”
After that he picks up his bike, moves the wheel until the air valve is at the bottom. Then he draws a little line on the street, moves the bike till the air valve is at the bottom again and draws another line.
Then he puts his bike aside and measures the distance between the 2 lines. 
“You with your pi nonsense. Come on, grab your bike and let’s head for the woods”