Preston Smith's Corner

What are the keys to installing a new product development process?

July 2005 Quick Tip

Parts of the answer are obvious. You must provide easy-to-use documentation, which is usually in an online format today, and you must train the workers and ensure that management receives an executive version of the training so that they know how to guide the new system toward success.

But the most critical task is to understand how the new process aligns with or contradicts individuals’ motivations. Many processes that look good on paper simply do not fit the culture of the organization and thus are doomed to failure. This isn’t to say that you should make sure everyone is comfortable with the new process. Your objective may be to change the status quo, and this is quite legitimate. But if you are going to make such radical changes, you need to be especially careful in understanding alignment between the process and individuals’ motivations.

The most productive development processes are seldom comfortable for developers or for management. If you wish to implement such a process, you must be especially careful in knowing where the friction is likely to occur so that you can take steps to lubricate these specific areas. You can find these friction spots by involving a variety of developers and managers as you create your process, both to obtain their feedback and build their ownership of the final solution.

For an example of the friction areas in one type of high-powered development process—agile software development—see our article, “Why Is Agile Development So Scary?

(c) Copyright 2013 Preston G. Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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