In the past years, I have been learning the hard way how important processes are as a basis for a company to grow. As an entrepreneur or manager, you set out to establish something, to work towards that point on the horizon that you dream of. For most, it means the company has to grow (and of course be profitable). But how do you grow? And how do you grow your IT company or department specifically?
At Bridge, our primary reason for being is helping our customers achieve growth and profitability. Right now, we do this for a specific market: web/software companies & medium and big sized organizations with an IT department. Now of course I love our customers and want to help them achieve that desired growth. In many cases the struggle is to build the solid foundation needed for their growth: processes.
What I hear so frequently is ‘yes of course we have processes, let me explain you’. And my next question is ‘can you show it to me on paper’? Uuuhhh…not really…
In a normal setting, where all people are working in one location to get ‘the job’ done, processes are already a condition for growth. In a setting where a part of the team is located in another building (or country), having clear processes is not only a condition for growth, but a condition to make anything work at all.
The question is: what is a process? Is it a ‘normal way of working’ that is inside the heads of the people? Or is it a well thought through document describing what we do?
In my experience, most companies believe it is the first one. But how do you transfer the way you work to a new employee? Or to a colleague in India? How long will it take to make sure that all your colleagues are 100% aligned with each other on ‘how do we do it’?
I believe it’s a clear and precise step by step documented description that is always in evolution. You write it down, but you always keep on improving it. When a new colleague joins, you hand it over, so he knows how he needs to get the job done. When you have a misunderstanding, you take the document and you can clearly see what has gone wrong.
A written process is the concrete foundation for anything a human team wants to get done. It’s the step by step approach that ensures the team delivers an expected result. It’s the paper roadmap that informs everyone involved in an undertaking what to do next.
I wonder how other growth companies, especially in the IT (outsourcing) world think about this…