The Times Of India is running a piece today citing Mr. Narayana Murthy
Don’t mock process, follow it.
Mr. Narayana Murthy, who could build the IT empire of Infosys, India’s first company to be listed on NASDAQ. He talks about problems in the system – from Indian cricket to cities to software, and identifies that the fault is in following the process, rather, not following the processes.
I take away a very important thing from his opinion. It is not enough to have a great process, it has to be followed to reap its benefits. I have even seen some companies which want to use the process as a badge or medal to be used for marketing or impressing the clients, or more so the possible clients. This is worse than not having a process at all.
More so in software development because the industry has one of the highest failure rates. And there is never just one reason for the failure, it is a combination. One more very important aspect, I see being completely omitted, is that most of the business software is about automation of processes. Do not expect to automation to yield results if the underlying process itself is wrong or simply not followed. Any business, who wants to use software, has to realize that it has to first get the processes right to really earn the ROI. I sincerely believe that identifying constraints in a process can reveal a lot of information that can boost productivity.
A lot of software professionals detest being part of a process because it employs discipline and certain code. What they fail to realize is that more than the individual, the process is required for the whole team, to make sure that each individual in the team knows what to expect from the other and when. The process enforces the unsaid protocol, something that is not deemed worthy of discussions, but something that can break the project if not followed.
Process is important for software developers from two perspectives – identifying business processes while doing software development and following a process for the software development itself. Of course this does talk anything about what process should be followed. What I believe is that the process should consider the team composition, the team skillset and need of the hour. If not, it leads to the process being abandoned, either explicitly or implicitly. Either way, it is just a mockery of the process.