Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hygiene Processes

There are certain actions that we do, like getting vaccinated or washing hands (preferably with soap) before touching food items or taking some precautions (apply insect repellant) when we trek.

Getting vaccinated against a disease is expected to prevent a person from not getting the disease. Applying insect repellant ensures that a person, gets lesser number  / does not get any insect bites. In both the scenarios, the success is measured by what did not happen.

If we think about the above in detail, we realize that the same categorization can also apply to the processes that we follow. Not all the processes help us to take our product, its quality or other important parameters of interest to a different level.

Certain processes* just* ensure that we stay at the same level or don't slip from the current position. We can use the term hygiene process to denote such processes.

Thinking deep about this concept will reveal the following.
  • Hygiene processes are equivalent to the foundation of a building and are just as important as any other process in the process hierarchy.
  • These processes are hidden beneath more important process and many a times don't get the importance that they deserve.
  • Any process definition should first identify the hygiene processes.
  • Embarking on process improvements without identifying, ensuring that the hygiene processes are in place and followed, always leads to failure.
  • Hygiene processes need not always be basic processes.
  • Hygiene Processes can also be those that help us to maintain a certain state or level or quality of our deliverables.
  • Hygiene process definition is a very relative definition and differs from company to company or system to system.
  • What is state of the art process for a system can be Hygiene process for another system (at a different maturity/capability level).

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