The Tao of Shaving or "How companies with beards don't do process management"

It occurred to me recently that for the male of the species at least there is a daily activity we perform which echoes the various issues and questions that beset those companies trying to perform process management to any degree.


That's right, shaving. Think about the various states and activities and follow along with me:

There are those of us who decide that we are not going to shave and we will leave things to develop as they wish. These are the companies who's processes have evolved with no thought for maintenance and control. These processes are unruly and dictate their own agenda to the company.

Next we have those people who trim their beards. They have decided that they want a little bit of control over what is happening. These are the same as the companies who have worked out in their own mind that they need to do something about their processes but have not decided exactly what, or how. They have an attempt at things and seem satisfied when they produce a result of some sort.

Next we have the guys who have taken matters in hand and gone for the full wet shave. There are different ways of doing the wet shave from the old-fashioned cut-throat razor through the safety razor to the more modern high-end "has its own in built lubricant strip and 8 blades" type from well known manufacturers. These are the people who have embraced the ability to control their facial hair in the same way as those companies who have embraced process management and have full control over their processes. They may be using old-fashioned or modern methods but they have achieved the result they want.

But there is a further step or level. There are those guys who have purchased an electric razor and use that regularly. These are the guys who have - for all intents and purposes - automated the shaving process. They can reconfigure their facial hair at will: Small mustache? Sideburns? Goatee? All possible and manageable with the electric razor. Change is dictated by the underlying growth and not by the ability to manage it. These are the companies who have decided to implement a BPMS to automate their processes and the management of them. Sure, it can be a little more expensive. It can also take some time getting used to it, and it may seem 'wrong' if you haven't done things this way before.

The point is that once you take the decision to manage your processes (or indeed your facial hair) there are any number of different ways that it can be done. Simple tools will help you - and indeed most people who do this will opt for fairly simple tools to help them and be very satisfied with it. But there will always be those people who decide that something more automated is needed and will spend the money to do so.

Are you a wet shaver, an electric shaver or a full beard man? What about your company?

(This analogy also applies to women shaving their legs but seemed less 'appropriate' somehow)

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