I recently had an interesting conversation with a great group of process designers from XPLANE, and I asked them if in the course of their work, there was any quality assurance baked into the final delivery. What they said surprised me a little bit. They are asked to come in and design a business process for a company or department, but then have no control or influence over it’s implementation (and corresponding level of quality). When I asked them if that was something they thought should be happening, they absolutely did, but the way the corporate world responds is that it is someone else’s responsibility. Since a client is not looking for that as part of their deliverable, they would have to take that risk on themselves, and that is not something they can afford to do.
This aligns with what I have seen at nearly every place I have worked. You can work to get the right processes and policies in place to ensure quality, but the reality is that very rarely do you have the means to ensure that it actually happens. Trying to figure out what that handoff looks like should be what you focus on. You may not be able to directly influence the end result, but if you put a little work in up front, you can put a sort of framework or structure in place to help ensure that you have a much better chance of fully delivering, even after you are long gone from the process.
Figuring out when the time to walk away, and say that you have done everything you can, will change for every person and situation…it’s what you do leading up to that point that will determine the success or failure of your project.
I’d like to thank Patrick, Dave and Ben for a great conversation…they were able to put some great context around things I have often wondered about.