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Avoiding Process Creep

Summary

Process creep occurs when process/approval steps needed by different departments in an overall methodology are proposed without regard for the process as a whole.

What is Process Creep?

Process creep is the excessive or redundant process steps that occur when each group or department involved in a process flow imposes process and approval steps from their own narrow perspective without regard for the overall collective process. While many of these proposed steps may indeed be valid (at least from the perspective of the individual lens), the cumulative effect of the steps often result in excess and leave room for streamlining.

For example, for a software development project, a quality department might include various approval steps for software quality, requirements validation, or pre-implementation signoffs. A technical architecture group might require its own checkpoints, sometimes overlapping with the quality review. Likewise, a security department might require additional checkpoints, which can overlap with the others. A change or risk management team might impose yet another pre-implementation checkpoint. While each of these has merit, there is benefit from looking at the process as a whole.

Otherwise, the result is an overall process where implementing a project might seem like trying to endure the Twelve Trials of Hercules en route to implementation. This not only causes frustration for the project team, it adds a tremendous amount of waste to the process, ties up valuable resources, and decreases the throughput of value-producing projects.

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