Ross Mayfield vs Software Process
Ross Mayfield has an interesting post on The End of Process dicussing how organization accrete rules over time without consideration of whether the overall process is actually effective. A lot of his argument is drawn from Clay Shirky's article "Process is an embedded overreaction to prior stupidity" in which he rails against overreaction:
But not all stupidity is amenable to deflection by process, and even when it is, the overhead created by process is often not worth the savings in deflected stupidity. Stupidity is frequently a one-off, and a process designed to deflect it within an organization actually ends up embedding it as a negative shape. Like the outline of Wile E. Coyote just after he is catapaulted through a wall, making everyone fill out The Form Designed to Keep You From Doing The Stupid Thing That One Guy Did Three Years Ago actually emphasizes the sense memory of that stupid thing within the group. CAUTION: The beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot.There's a lot of truth in what Shirky says but it's a question of degree. Process is good when it covers 80% of the cases but trying to abolish everything tends to add more friction costs to your organization than it is worth. People also don't really consider whether the process as a whole make sense - look at the laws of any country or the US Tax code: patches on top of patches with no architecture. So what do you do if your working in an environment where process is everywhere? As a former manager of mine used to say "To ask permission is to seek denial" and I've pretty much taken this to heart. It's amazing how far you can get by ignoring things and every good rule is worth breaking once in a while.