Why Process Adherence is important to a Team Leader
Many Team Leaders deviate from adhering to the process. This creates unforeseen issues. It is important to understand that adhering to processes will save you from extra work hours.
A Process can be defined as a set of steps to be performed to achieve an activity.
An example is, requesting an approval for planned vacation. The steps here are 1. requestor will raise the vacation request, 2. approver will verify and approve the request and 3. HR team will update their payroll records.
Imagine, a team member went on vacation for 1week without raising a request. What will happen?
Similarly, if a technical team leader does not adhere to process during certain activities or does not make sure the team adheres to the process, then there will be chaos among the team members as well as with the peer teams.
Every team leader are aware that processes must be followed; even then, deviation will occur. Why?
The problem that most of the technical team leads face is that processes becomes a burden or a overhead or a bottleneck — example writing 5 documents before releasing 1 line of code change. It looks pathetic and waste of time.
Irrespective of the volume or quantity of change has been introduced, following process will save you from weekend work or late night debugging hours, as it adds a layer of checks among team members as well as between teams while handing over.
But you may argue that a process being successful depends completely on the person who is following it. Since there is human involvement there is always a chance of something going wrong even though the defined process is perfect.
This is true. An example is the code reviewer didn't do the review properly but even after following all processes, QA team reported a Highest priority bug. No denial on this.
Note that, the converse of the above is also true. That is the reason, technical team leads struggle to decide whether to follow it or not and in-turn ending up deviating as per the urgency of activities to be performed.
The root cause of processes becoming bottleneck or an overhead can be identified and can be used as an opportunity by technical team leads to bring a change. This in-turn will help improve efficiency of that activity.
The change is reducing overheads of process. There are many ways to do this. Here are few suggestions.
- Automation of certain steps in the process
This is one of my favourite way to reduce overheads. If you are someone serious about reducing overheads, then validate what part of the process can be automated; plan for it and get it implemented.
- Remove steps which does not make sense anymore
Reviewing all process steps with stakeholders and peer teams to question whether certain steps are required or can be merged into one or a new steps can be introduced in place of something will help in reducing overheads. Doing process review regularly could be one of the post project steps.
- Introduction of a tool
With the advancement of many project management tools, there could be a tool which captures or reports that you want as part of the process. So researching on tools that will suit the team and onboarding it is another way to reduce overheads.
- Documenting the process clearly
This is one of the common problems — no proper documentation about the process that is being followed. Either the document will not be up-to-date or not all steps will be clearly documented. Sometimes, updating the document about the process may not reduce the overhead, but it will bring clarity to everyone.
With the above suggestions, start looking at reducing the overheads. This will in-turn help you and your team to follow the process more efficiently.
But never deviate from the process as it will save you from unforeseen situations.
And also helps you to bring more confidence to your stakeholders or higher management. This in-turn boost your chances to move up in the management ladder.