Nolan Phillips

Who does your process serve?

13 hours ago · 1 min read min read

One way to categorize process is to ask who it serves.

Productivity Process is there to serve the team doing the work. These processes exist help them stay organized and be more productive. These are practices that raise the bar for the team by enabling learning, decreasing delivery time, lowering bug counts, etc… Some example processes include ensemble work, TDD, micro-commits, small PRs, and continuous integration.

Visibility Process is there to serve people outside of the team. These processes look to make the team’s work legible to outsiders. Velocity, status updates, estimates, issue labels, heartbeat reports, etc… They exist to help people outside the team to see what’s happening, not to increase productivity.

Both are important. The team needs to get things done. Other people need to know what they’re accomplishing.

Things get sticky when we don’t know the goal of our process. Process that increases Visibility often decreases Productivity. Aiming for perfect legibility is neither realistic nor desirable.

More on that another time.