Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Why You'll Have A Scalability Problem If This Isn't Happening!

Remember when 37Signals came out with that book, Getting Real? Chapter Four titled Scale Later really got me all itchy and scratchy about something. Too many companies spin and spin on process management! Yes, for those of you who have worked with me, please hold your judgments (I'd label myself a process addict, but a recovering one). What excited me about Scale Later was a refreshingly honest comment - worry about building a great product people love, otherwise you won't have a scale problem. Undeniable simple, eh? Well, I've found in my career that this is really hard to do. Most executives have a hard time taking their hands off the process-road-map-super-white-board. Insignificant details get in the way of true management, or even innovation. We create (me included) too many process maps that never get followed, because no leader really manages the process - they just dictate. And so now we enter into the point of this post...

Let's consider what process executives freak out about? I've seen it go like this: a sale happens, something gets passed off to do (implement/build/create/deliver/transact), and everyone assumes disaster is around the corner (the customer won't be happy; the company will fall apart; no one will mow the front office lawn - ahhh)! And so we build a process map... Based on this reality, I've learned one thing: let the people eat the process map!

People are your process! You've hired experts to do a job, a function. And if you've hired really well (and there is one excellent way to know this - see red letters) then you have nothing to worry about, because your team is going to obsess about process anyway - they are experts. You've got a killer team, and guess what? Two things:
  1. If you are gaining sales, and repeat customers then...
  2. Your process is working! 
My point:
  • You WILL have a scalability problem if you don't hire well
  • You ALREADY have a scalability problem if no one is buying your product
  • You SHOULD build a process map if people are bored, and no one is buying your product!
Have a little faith and know that these pros are going to kill it for your company! Now, it is probably best that I re-read this post, because I have built several process maps :(

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