page. I could probably expose more functions for your access, but this is it for now!
Why manage my Processes?
and why ladders in the cover image?
We’re ladder-climbers, humans - upwards in tiny, repeated steps - from single-cell to mammal, from prototype to product. Process is life, it’s embedded in all we are and all we do, as we are in it.
But doesn’t process just happen organically? Do we really need to manage it?
I mean, no you don’t need to manage your processes. But I expect most of you already are to some extent, and there’s a lot to be gained from expanding your practice.
7 benefits of process management
Faster, Better Work → when you write down work as steps, unwanted redundancies and inefficiencies become apparent and surprisingly accessible. Then you can make changes.
Embed Strategy → it’s hard to step outside of day-to-day work and see the point of it all: see from a larger perspective. Process management helps people make connections between disparate work activities and creates stronger links between team work and organizational strategy.
Strong Collaboration→ perspective again: when you see how your work connects with your team’s, you make more people-positive decisions.
Easy Adaptation → why wait for evolution to make our processes better? Active process management gives you control over your work, helps you simplify it, and targets effective improvements
More Automation → making work explicit - identifying and breaking it into steps - is the precursor to assigning machine-work to machines and keeping the people-work for people
Efficient Onboarding → new hires can refer to best practice processes to help them understand their work. When they get stuck, they can ask a process directly or quickly find the process owner and reach out.
Reduced-risk Offboarding → departing colleagues have already documented their knowledge, or at least those aspects of their expertise that can be made explicit.
There are a few problems with process and knowledge management that AI can help address.
First, it can be hard for some people to start thinking in terms of process. So this doc uses AI to create the processes while you focus on observing, amending, and adapting them.
Second, there’s always a risk that knowledge will go stale, or that people will have to spend time updating their processes to keep knowledge relevant. To that I say, well, good? You should be spending some time thinking about and working with your processes from a second-order perspective. But not all your time. The application of AI in this doc, along with the use of feedback for continuous improvement, is designed to help you reduce time spent on bad work, and make space for value-add activities.
About the Maker
👋 I’m Andy Farnsworth, and I handcrafted this doc with several thousand key presses and mouse clicks.
So then I settled down and into my 10 year public sector stint. But I became unhappy there. Last year I took my wife’s advice and found a career counsellor to help me deal with work-related depression and anxiety (shout out to Haley and
!). Through that work, I was cured! No, far better and worse, I realized that my whole life has been been about process. I’m an optimizer, always on the lookout for the atomic units of a task to tweak.
And I learned something else: the gains I got from focusing on small-scale improvement doubled when I wrote the process down. Who knew the power of writing things down.... Like, look at that process above. If I had honestly written down the steps I was following, I can’t believe I’d have kept following them. I would have addressed individual steps, thereby fixing my own mental health issues (e.g., step 1, which was my attempt to swing low enough that I wouldn’t damage my ego.)
So now I embrace process. I help organizations design better processes. I design process-based Coda docs. I hope this one works for you, and please do reach out with any questions or comments.
All images (except the one of my face), were created using OpenAI’s Dall-E image generator and prompts like:
an oil painting of a non-gendered human running in a foot race through the desert, where the only other competitor is a tumbleweed made of household tools like hammers and pencils, in the style of the group of seven, particularly Lawren Harris