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Process Performance vs. Development Process

Someone who cares about Process Performance is motivated to execute schedules on time and on budget; they have a keen eye for risks that jeopardize success. You can tell someone cares about Process Performance when they ask a lot of questions that start with "When ...", or "How long ...", or "Did you think about ..." Their minds are attuned to time and risk. This could be due to executing talents, e.g. Achiever, Belief, Responsibility or Restorative. It could also be due to an accumulation of unpleasant past experiences coupled with influencing talents, e.g. Activator, Command, Competition or Maximizer.

In an agile SDLC, people who care about Process Performance use this important perspective to influence teams 1) in setting achievable goals and 2) reaching them consistently with an outcome of optimized cycle-time and consistent velocity. Yes, I know. Velocity is losing favor as a metric in the agile community. It is definitely not a measure of greatness but it is a measure of stability. I assure you, if a team establishes a consistent velocity, there is someone on that team who cares about Process Performance. Who is it? Is it a Scrum Master? Is it a Product Owner? It can be anyone. Someone who has this talent, this drive and this passion who is empowered to do what they do best - that is, keep us on track.


Someone who cares about Development Process is motivated to make sure the people they are responsible for have everything they need to execute their roles with excellence. You can tell someone cares about Development Process when they ask questions like "What do we need?" or "How can I help?" They are passionate servant leaders constantly on the look out for ways to facilitate flow. What makes them this way? Relationship building talents that help build up skills in facilitation, teaching, coaching and mentoring, e.g. Adaptability, Connectedness, Developer, or Individualization.

In essence, software development is the flow of decisions through time. And just like rocks, garbage, or even dams prevent water from optimally flowing along river banks, ... lack of knowledge, inefficient processes, unwieldy tools, or restrictive management practices can slow down decision making or even stop it in its tracks. A popular metric used to measure the outcome of applied Development Process is happiness, or what I like to call, Emotional Resonance(ER). How does your work make you feel? Are you having fun? How safe do you feel? These leading indicators set up a process for successful performance.


So you see, there is a fine line and potential overlap between Development Process and Process Performance. Development Process increases flow by removing obstacles that keep people from making optimal decisions. Process Performance directs that flow by altering the river banks, i.e. influencing optimal decisions towards an ultimate destination.

Can someone care about Process Performance but be neutral concerning Development Process? Yes of course. But I implore you. Somebody on the team has to care about Development Process. As some traditional project managers may attest to, steering turbulent waters is no fun; the waters always overflow the banks. What a waste.