Change funnel

    What water in a mortar to push, write entry, immediately to the point.

    The first layer - who wants?

    Many of us want to change something in our department, or company, or even in the industry - professional, for example. I know this because I have been observing and communicating for a long time - both in our circle and in other non-programmers and in general IT.

    But it comes to real change extremely - extremely rarely. This is probably not even a few percent, but a fraction of one percent. Why is that?

    If you gather everyone - for example, programmers - and ask: who wants to change something in a department, company or industry? - hands will raise more than half. Why to the end, to the real changes, useful and noticeable, these unfortunate shares reach? Where and why are the others lost?

    This process is a bit like a funnel, as in sales. Remember the sales funnel? It shows how many calls go into money. It looks like this:

    Oh, not that. Like this:

    Let's try to figure out who, where has fallen off and why.

    So, the first, widest layer of the funnel - those who raised their hands.

    The second layer - who is ready to try

    From communication with programmers, and not only, the main reason became known for knowing why it is impossible to change something. In practice, it occurs quite often. It sounds like this: I have no authority.

    Since I do not have the authority, I can not change anything - I'm just a programmer. I receive tasks, TZ, requirements, I write the code and I hand over it to customers, internal or external. How and what can I change? TK right to left to read? Vertical command panel do?

    I go and tell my suggestions for changes to different bosses, starting with my immediate. But he's an idiot! He is not interested in anything, except for the implementation of surrogate projects, which have been invented by even higher authorities, and of all petty nonsense from other departments, in order to maintain relations with their leaders.

    At this stage, the first batch of attempts to change something falls off - those who decided that the current place is the limit, and if nothing can be changed, then there is nothing to try. This is the loss of the first layer of the funnel during the transition to the second.

    Then there are those who decided: once I have no authority, I will achieve them. We will also include those who want changes, but are authorized for another reason - they just coincided.

    The third layer - who is not dissolved

    So, you can try to stand in the place of superior idiots, build a career as a chief, or project manager, or some deputy director of IT, maybe even open your company. But who will we become, taking the place of idiots? Maybe the rescuers on a white horse?

    No, this story was repeated many times. Those who are now turning any undertaking into a substitute , too, were once great guys - the same as we are. They also wanted to change something, to achieve outstanding results, to build a unique structure or system, to create a company that is not similar to others - effective, useful to people, profitable and terribly interesting.

    But nothing happened, alas. If you mix the right person and the wrong environment, then the environment wins: either the person mimics her, or the environment will throw him out. This script is as old as the world. If you go this way, the result, with a high probability, will be the same.

    If you think “when I become the head or owner of a business, then I can change a lot,” then you are most likely to be mistaken. Be able to something you can, but you will not.

    Responsibility and routine, meetings and paperwork, plans and reporting will fall on you. In order to make radical changes, you will have a very short window: from 1 to 6 months, until the stereotypical behavior of the boss-idiot has become a part of your I, until you have turned from an ardent revolutionary, into a believing conjunctor, an element of the system, not only thinking of change, but also a holy believer in their harm.

    Maybe catch this semi-annual window? Sometimes it turns out, if there was such a mood beforehand and there was no fear. For example, recidivist managers do this when they go to work for another company. There is nothing to lose, there are no connections yet, and it’s necessary to show yourself. It will work out - well, it will not work out - they will be kicked out, and all right, only half a year will be lost. We once called it a career rush .

    But it happens rarely. Usually there is a joyful adaptation, study of duties and building relationships, a second conversation with all services on the topic “I am a new boss, now everything will be different, tell me your problems”, etc. Half a year will fly by. And now there are a lot of plans, commitments, instructions, strategies and focusings, and everything is so important, and even so far interesting, and at the end of the year the bonus shines, if these projects are done ...

    Projects, although surrogate, seem not very harmful. Okay, I will, I will receive a bonus, and only then, in the new year, I will bring order here, propose and implement the changes, become a different person, nobody can compare with me.

    The year ends, but there is no bonus. Eh, by chance we find out: according to the financial results of the year, they pay him, but there it’s still, closer to the end of February.

    I just received a bonus - here you have the closing of the year, income tax, reporting - everything, until the end of April nobody is interested in changes. Yes, and not really want. I have already learned how to rejoice at completed projects in time, although there is no sense in them - will you not declare the stupidity of the project while receiving the award? Also, the speech is inspiring to say for the employees - they did a good job, well done, the management appreciates, we are a very important department in the strategy of the enterprise development.

    It’s like May - the birds are singing, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming - it's all around! Maybe I should go? After all, I wanted to make the world better! Yes, the May holidays will end, and on the very first day I will sit down to develop a plan of transformations! The future is in my hands! I will be a legend among IT directors!

    I came to work, and there was a call to the general to the carpet: May, he says, it is outside, and there is still no IT work plan for the year! Where are the automation projects - the big, global ones that you promised me when you were appointed? You justify, they say, the bookkeeping department completely unbelted, refused to close the year on its own, it was necessary to sit literally next to them, you know our organizational structure and tax risks, etc. etc.

    The general, reluctantly, agrees to wait for the plan until the end of May. Changes? Transformations? Efficiency? Why, why? Plan must be made. And then also perform - because you want a bonus.

    So the future great business transformer is dying. The usual conjuncture surrogate survives, the main objectives of which are the fulfillment of the plan and resistance to change. This is the loss of the third layer. Those who received authority, and stuck in them, without changing anything.

    But some do not give up, and yet begin converting. What tools and tools? Automation of course!

    The fourth layer - who automated

    A person comes up with an automation project - for example, the introduction of some kind of new program, or a service, or an ERP system, or simply to start using software that has been bought for a long time, but lies idle. Or part of it.

    He writes pieces of paper, like the project’s charter, technical specifications, he goes around talking with everyone to identify the needs and expectations of automation. The project starts, the work is done, something is demonstrated to customers. Test operation is carried out, the next requirements are collected, again encoded, again testing, the spiral is already narrower and now ...

    Run! And silence. Users made one or two tests and abandoned. Did not stick. Do not need anyone. There is no time to do this, it is better as before - it was more difficult there, in files and on pieces of paper, but more familiar. I do not want to change the order of work, the benefits are not obvious, and just too lazy.

    If the system were critical, and without it in any way, then everything would work out. And here - just some changes, though designed to serve the goals of the company, but in no way fit into the processes. Processes after the old left? Of course.

    Who will let programmers and a CIO change processes? Nobody will give, so they, being proud birds, have made a system contrary to the processes. Not that it is straight against the cut with them, but trite there is not built in, or crookedly adapted - so that it is inconvenient and not obvious, and it is not necessary. Are there optional steps in the process? Or does not happen? In automation projects, as we know, happens at every turn. Do you want to - create a document, do not want - do not create. If you want - on the day of the event, enter it, if you want - at the end of the quarter, or a year later - in hindsight. Do you want to - set the task through the system, do not want - put the letter. Well, etc.

    The fact is obvious: the automated system contradicts the processes, and therefore dies. This is the loss of the fourth layer, or the failed automation projects thrown away.

    But sometimes a miracle happens, and the system corresponds to the process: either automation is done “strictly under the process”, or the process changes under automation. Of course, the first option is much more common, but there are exceptions when the processes of their own will, or because of the introduction of a heavy system, have to be rebuilt.

    The fifth layer - who got into the process

    And now we have an excellent system that clearly corresponds to the process. The process, of course, contains more squares - in the same place, not only actions in the information system, people sometimes work with their hands, run their feet, and think with their heads.

    But the trouble is that people do not only execute this process, or should they perform it. There are a lot of processes, they are interconnected with each other - not in the same way as on the ISO 9001 process map, but normally, with prioritization, interconnections and mutual influence.

    And there comes a strange situation. One process people do, and the other do not. And do not, for some reason, yours, which is automated and good. And the other, stupid and ineffective - they do.

    Trying to figure it out, asking at meetings - why don't you do it? In response, some meaningless rumbling, such as yes, yes, yes, we will, I will talk to them, we must still wait. If you start to push - get a list of new requirements for automation and fall out in the previous layer. Well, so as not to bury here, with their changes.

    Then, by chance, in the smoking room, you will find out the real reason - they do not pay for your process. The motivation system is so arranged that your process, its actions and results are not included in the calculation of indicators.

    Or people have a stupid salary, and the informal system of motivation works - everyone does, first of all, what they will be torn for. And your, useful and necessary process, stands apart from this, “real life”.

    It turns out that the process and automation correspond to each other, but the motivation system does not. These are losses of the fifth layer, unfulfilled automated processes, for which people are not paid money.

    The sixth layer - who motivated

    But you have a good relationship with Lena, HR-director, and at the next dinner you tell her about your problems. Helen promises to help, she is a genius of motivation systems, and your engineering mind will not be superfluous when choosing and automating the calculation of indicators.

    You think, you do, you adjust the KPI system, or you add penalties for deviating from your process, and you, by some miracle, this system is asserted by the general. Perhaps Helen not only dines with you.

    And now your process is executed. First, with a scratch and howls at meetings, streams of requirements for revision, lists of missing reports and inconveniences of the interface, but it is being fulfilled!

    The trouble comes from where it was not expected - from the boss, or, as they say in ISO terminology, the owner of the process (although it is strange that he is called the owner of the process, he did not invent it).

    The owner is outraged. With his knowledge, or without his participation at all, you have changed the system of motivation of his subordinates. He, maybe, even agreed, until this all in production had not passed, but now he was in a strange situation - he no longer controls his people. Who controls them? The process and motivation system that you (and Helen) have done!

    He tells people to do this, and they don’t. He yells at his subordinates - hey, why are you, I'm your boss! Well, you are well done, of course, the head - the people answer - but we don’t want to lose the salary due to the failure of the process.

    In a bad (= normal) case, the process owner will simply begin to resist. In the same way, he will have lunch with Lena, and agree on changes in the system, which he can no longer manage. You have deprived him of the main thing, for which he is paid money - by the authorities. It will whine at every meeting, find fault with automation and programmers, overwhelm you with tasks on adjacent systems.

    But the worst thing is to catch your system in error, and turn it so that under his strict guidance this would not have happened. Simply, having noticed a potential error, he will keep silent and wait until the situation becomes critical. If the damage seems real, it will intervene at the last moment, and heroically rectify the situation, spreading his feat before the general. He “will understand who is who” - you, with your systems, or a tough manager, who is in the fire, and in the water for his native enterprise, and never replace his human intuition with any systems, albeit with artificial intelligence.

    In a good (= rare) case, the owner will come to you and say that you have made an unmanaged system. Trite, did not provide a system for prioritizing among tasks, or process instances. In a crisis situation, they did not leave any opportunity to transfer all people to another process, without depriving them of their salary due to the blindness of the motivation system. We did not create reports, monitors and traffic lights by which you can track the progress and quality of the process. Simply put, did not provide a control system.

    These are losses of the sixth layer - self-organized systems and processes in which a control system is not provided and, accordingly, a place for the chief. There are no buttons that he can click to control the process. There are no arrows with which he can move priorities. There is no monitor or workplace where the course of the process would be clear.

    Seventh layer - who, it seems, has not forgotten anything

    For example, if you missed the control system, you either immediately envisaged it or completed the conversation with the owner of the process. Everything, you have turned beauty and beauty - everyone is happy.

    The process is carried out, it is highly automated, the motivation is well calculated, effective management is ensured. It's time to go for a bonus or promotion!

    Come, arrange a presentation, call yourself a successful initiator, implementer and implementer of changes. Now the board of directors is melting away - after all, this is exactly what they expect from all employees: the initiative, its implementation, adaptation to the realities of business, thoughtful motivation and management.

    But they are silent. Sometimes whisper. They look at you, then at the presentation, but more - in the window.

    Finally, the pause becomes awkward, and one of them asks a question that sends you to the knockout: Why?

    What why? - you ask again.

    Why did you spend so much time and resources on this process? - irritated, asks that guy.

    I wanted to change something, increase efficiency, improve our company! - almost offended you say.

    So how did your work improve our company? - relenting, says that guy.

    So I told about this and the whole presentation! Just look at how quickly and conveniently we can now track ... - you start the Elevator Pitch of your presentation confusedly, but that guy interrupts you.

    What is the purpose of our company? He asks.

    Now, I remember, the goals are hanging on the wall near the toilet, along with the mission ... - you blush.

    No, not this blizzard, but a real goal. What is the purpose of our business? - that guy interrupts again.

    Hmm ... Profit? - uncertainly you ask.

    Yes, profit. - that guy answers. - You are a deputy director, not an enthusiastic student or a romantic seventh-grader, and you should understand this first of all. Profit. For her, and created our, and any other business. Everything else is important too, but after the profit. And only if there is a profit. No profit - no business, no business - no employees, salaries, philanthropy, taxes, or a cozy dining room.

    There is an awkward pause again. That guy seems to be waiting for something from you.

    You want to say that my project should have affected the profit? - cursing everything in the world, you say with irritation.

    Affect ?! Zoom! Why do we need projects that affect profits? Negative influence - is this also an influence? Here is your project, apparently, has a negative impact on profits? - that guy is already talking to you, like a professor in an exam on theoretical mechanics or strength of materials.

    Well, I didn’t do such calculations, it is necessary to take into account the influencing processes, and you can take a picture of the employees' day, you can reduce someone ... - hope wakes up again.

    Of course it is possible. For now, I see only two numbers. Zero - this is an increase in income from your project, and the costs you seem to be on the penultimate slide. Total negative balance. You, my friend, I apologize for my French, raped X hundreds of thousands of rubles. - friendly (I think) says that guy.

    Silence fell again. You are ready to fail on the spot. The whole world, all your beliefs are crumbling - here, in an expensive, beautiful office, in front of these complacent faces. Well, how can they explain, show, prove that they are wrong? What you are is a CIO, and this is your job - to automate your homeland, but you didn’t just automate, but did a tremendous job - the process was changed, the motivation was adjusted, management was set up ... But they didn’t think about profit. For months of work, this question has not flashed in my head - WHY are you doing this project?

    This is the loss of the seventh layer. A brilliantly executed project that brought nothing to the company. Surrogate. Another.

    If the profit was taken into account, and it grew - congratulations. You and your project fell into the same one percent share. Good luck with your hard work.

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