Sunday, March 7, 2010

Follow the process and thinking outside the current constraints

Today I am the second day in India. The hotel is really great!

While here, I have encountered a few great examples of how people can become stuck in processes and how continuous process improvement as well as better exception/compensation handling could have helped.

A lady arrives early from the airport and the staff had just begun clearing up the breakfast buffet. Everything was still there so there should not have been a problem. Unfortunately, because the staff to clean this up had already entered the breakfast room they apparently could not stop the process and the lady could not get anything to eat ; so much for hospitality in the hospitality business...
- later I have asked the staff about the how and why and the explanation was fairly simple: "this is how we have agreed to work sir. We first warn everyone in the room that we are about to close the buffet, and when everyone has indicated they are all fine with this we can start the cleanup procedure". Apparently the procedure does not cope with people who arrive to the room when they have finished asking around....

Anyway to cut a long story short, I found out that the improvement process is typically: when a customer complains and the number of complaints in a certain period becomes too high, the process can be changed to compensate for the increased number of incidents. Despite all good intentions, I believe there is just not enough room for common sense or for improvement suggestions triggered by the people who are in the process themselves.

Extending this, an analogy can be found in (IT) processes. Very often I encounter that "we all" work according to procedures and we can hardly accommodate for anything that is not covered in these procedures. Also in IT, common sense often simply not used as we have proven time after time that we cannot accommodate for this in our procedures. Apparently, thinking outside the current constraints is still hard to do. We do everything by the book and still the customer is not happy :(

No comments:

Post a Comment