The Importance of Process in Web Design is a well-written article about the importance of processes even in a Web design shop. I’ve worked as a process analyst for the last seven years or so and have seen how processes are a boon… and a burden.
Process teams can’t alone make the process work for an entire software department. It’s the department that makes the process happen while we’re here to help guide the department and manage the processes. You can read process articles I’ve written for A List Apart, Digital Web, and here.
Having a process doesn’t mean having a thousand pages of documentation. Documentation is needed, but it is not THE process and people won’t use it when there is too much documentation. I’m a neat freak. My desk is neat, my car is neat, etc. I can keep them clean. However, if I go into the other family car, which is a mess… I get overwhelmed and scared away. I can’t figure out where to start.
Process documentation is something like that. Have too much and no guidance, employees won’t use them. They’re useful for training new employees and handling hand-off problems between teams.
Just like starting a new business, the business is in the red while it buys the things it needs to get it off the ground. After a little time passes, it slowly reaches a profit. Processes take a lot of time in the beginning but will save time in the long run since it’s repeatable and avoids reinventing the wheel each time or playing a hero.