vmodel_cutOne of the topics I have recently encountered quite frequently is a discussion about more or less process. As a matter of fact I have recently seen upper management of one of my customers demand less process to try and get products more quickly out the door. The typical reasoning is that traditional processes stand in the way of agile development and rapid deployment.

As so often, the reality is – it depends very much on the type of product and company you are with.

If you are with a small startup, trying to get the famous minimum viable product out into the internet, the situation is vastly different from a large telco trying to expedite the release of a new IAD. While in the case of the startup a minimalistic agile approach might be sufficient and even advisable to get in front of the customer and start that feedback loop, I would strongly suggest a traditional and solid stage/gate product development process for the latter to avoid service problems and exploding call rates.

Fundamentally, after more than 25 years in business I believe in processes as they usually ensure a way of tracking progress against the desired timeline and outcome. “If you can’t measure it – you can’t manage it” holds in this context as much as anywhere.

However I have seen quite a few processes coming out of tune with their original objectives as business models and organizations change, as a result frustrating employees and management alike. For that reason it is probably a good idea to review your process model as well as the individual process from time to time with all relevant stakeholders. There is a lot of relevant literature on this topic as well as a number of companies that can help with that – including ours.