The Mona Lisa of OSS

All OSS rely on workflows to make key outcomes happen. Outcomes like activating a customer order, resolving a fault, billing customers, etc. These workflows often touch multiple OSS/BSS products and/or functional capabilities. There’s not always a single-best-way to achieve an outcome.

If you’re responsible for your organisation’s workflows do you want to build a paint-by-numbers approach where each process is repeatable?
Or do you want the bespoke paintings, which could unintentionally lead to a range in quality from Leonardo’s Mona Lisa to my 3 year old’s finger painting?

Apart from new starters, who thrive on a paint-by-numbers approach at first, every person who uses an OSS wants to feel like an accomplished artisan. They want to have the freedom to get stuff done with their own unique brush-strokes. They certainly don’t want to follow a standard, pre-defined pattern day-in and day-out. That would be so boring and demoralising. I don’t blame them. I’d be exactly the same.

This is perhaps why some organisations don’t have documented workflows, or at least they only have loosely defined ones. It’s just too hard to capture all the possibilities on one swim-lane chart.

I’m all for having artisans on the team who are able to handle the rarer situations (eg process fall-outs) with bespoke processes. But bespoke processes should never be the norm. Continual improvement thrives on a strong level of repeatability.

To me, bespoke workflows are not necessarily an indication of a team of free spirited artists that need to be regimented, but of processes with too many variants. Click on this link to find recommendations for reducing the level of bespoke processes in your organisation.

Are processes bespoke or paint-by-numbers in your organisation?

BTW. We’ll take a slightly different perspective on workflow repeatability in tomorrow’s post.

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