Standard Operating Procedures

You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”
Thomas Sowell

In many large CSPs, bureaucracy is a way of life. Procedures provide the bureaucrats with a port of consistency within a sea of change. An OctopOSS project is a very threatening beast because it changes organisations and their associated procedures. An OctopOSS project needs a team that is both willing to embrace change and to promote the change throughout the impacted organisation.

This promotion of change may slow the project down in the early stages but may well prevent a complete blockage in the middle stages of a large transformation project.

Conversely, an OSS can be a great way of building processes and tracking workflows through them, providing bureaucrats with their safety once more after the project is implemented, albeit a changed process.

But there is one aspect to processes within the OSS/CSP industry that intrigues me. There might be standard processes within a CSP, but there are no standard operating procedures across the industry. Within healthcare there are highly refined, consistently taught and well understood ways of conducting procedures from hospital to hospital. In many industries there are best practices.

But in our world of OSS there are no documented, consistent ways of undertaking common tasks across organisations, despite the efforts of programs such as eTOM, ITIL, PMBOK, etc. They all act as loose guides.

Is it because of complexity, diversity, relative immaturity compared with other much older industries, competitive advantages being generated via differences, because we can’t agree on anything, etc?

Will we ever get to the point of having standard operating procedures in our industry? Will we ever get to a point where a single OSS vendor that does the job so remarkably well that it dominates the market and by default will drive consistency of process?

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