People don’t bother defining their processes because they can’t see how it matters. Maybe they don’t believe they have an impact on the overall business. Or they are trying to protect their “turf” by being purposefully opaque. Or they’ve had a dozen other improvement efforts come through and there has been no real impact on the bottom line.
Understanding processes is helpful, but it is just as important to know which processes need to be understood. This is a common complaint of flavor-of-the-day programs: the idea is applied to everything in the hopes that it will do some good. It makes much more sense to look at the business and find the few places to apply an improvement that will actually make a difference to the business.
I’d add that
– neat orderly processes are not that ubiquitous and
– that they aren’t as important as most people think.
Especially knowledge (or innovation) work processes can’t be standardized (granted you can support parts and pieces of these processes with standard workflow gear), so trying to manage them into (computerized) workflows and all is not feasible and no worthwhile goal, whereas more freeform tools and concepts like wikis can be easily adapted to variable requirements – and even allow (process) solutions to emerge from within the organizational system.
If you want to know more and are looking for social software support and consulting assistance, contact me.