The human brain is a complicated, information-processing system. It controls and coordinates actions and reactions with the information it ingests.
How you process information, and the process you create to follow up on what you do with information, separates each person from the next. A person who follows a “process” is considered more organized, effective, and knowledgeable than someone that does not.
Let’s say we ran a test between two subjects, where they are given a 1000pc jigsaw puzzle to complete.
Subject A – doesn’t use a process effectively
- Picks pieces by random and seeing if they fit
Subject B – uses a process effectively
- Looks for edges and corner pieces first, then finishes the inside.
It’s likely that Subject B completes the jigsaw puzzle before Subject A.
That being said, the more you work on the processes you use, the more effective you will become at processing information, making decisions, and reaching your goals.
Without a process you are less likely to succeed at identifying priorities and meeting your schedule. Sometimes there is just utter chaos, where there are no means to an end. Creating to a process is incredibly important in digital optimization, especially when it comes to gathering data.
USE A PROCESS FOR EVERYTHING.
Sticking to a process is easy, but improving a process is sometimes ignored within the corporate culture. Improving a process is a critical skill set. If you don’t have a plan to consistently improve your processes, you are losing out on a lot of opportunities you can gain.
Building your own process, and focusing on improving it and sharing it with others in your workplace will make you and everyone involved more confident and successful. It will also make you knowledgeable on the subject matter, be a more effective/resourceful team member, and will also save you from “finger pointing” and taking the individual “blame” if, and when, something gets missed.
As an individual worker, it is not just your skills that make you stand out, but how efficiently you use them and how resourceful you. Because opportunities to improve processes are often ignored, this is a great opportunity for you as an individual in the workspace to stand out.
I try and focus on improving any process, and the processes I have shared with others. I’ve had a lot of success come from this, and I feel confident in saying that I am organized, detailed, knowledgeable, and effective within my company.
So what are these advantages of having a process? What can I do to improve upon the processes that I come up with to help me become successful? I’ve come up with this acronym P.R.O.C.E.S.S., which explains why you should start improving more upon your current processes, and what you get out of using a process in everything you do.
P – POWER
A process gives you POWER. With a process in place (to whatever you are doing), you are empowering yourself and assigning steps on when to determine if it is good to move on towards the next step until you reach your end goal. You can identify weak points in the process and make them better to improve the process as a whole.
Without a process, there are no checkpoints, or any pre-determined task that signifies when you’ve actually reached your “end goal.” It might appear that you are “winging it”. While you may be able to reach your goal without a process, you have no back up to establish that this goal was the main purpose of your plan.
R – REFINE
A process is never perfect, and there will always be opportunities to improve. Focusing on constantly improving on your process will ultimately make you become more effective, more powerful, and more successful.
While you may have a process in place right now, take a moment and ask how you might be able to make it more efficient/useful. Test and see what works and what doesn’t. Find the “bottlenecks” in the process and improve them and you will see how things can go much more smoothly and efficiently.
O – ORDER/ORGANIZATION
This is an obvious one. If you have a process, you will definitely be considered organized. With a process you can lay out the steps you need to reach your goals and answer questions so that you are more confident in your answer.
Without a process, while you may get to your goal, you won’t confidently be able to replicate exactly how you reached the goal (this is very important when it comes to testing and data analysis). And you also lose the opportunity to discover how to get to that goal more efficiently.
C – CONFIDENCE
If you have a process in place, you are more knowledgeable than without a process. When you create the process behind the goal, you are naturally educating yourself on all the details around the project, and also how you will achieve the goal.. When you achieve that goal using a process, you’ll have more confidence in the validity of the results.
If there is no process, and you’ve reached your goal, how confident are you with the data the result presents? How are you so sure that you can reach the same results if you don’t know the exact steps it took to get there initially?
E – EFFICIENCY
With creating and improving a process, you will become more efficient at reaching your goals. The process will allow you see where the process took longer than expected, and you can work on improving specific steps efficiently. You also become more efficient in your delivery timing of projects and prioritizing accordingly.
You become confident in saying things like “I can deliver this in a week”, or “I can get this to you by Friday”, and less of “I’ll have to check again and get back to you.” Which statements would you rather respond with to your manager/boss with when they ask you if you have the bandwidth to do a project?
S – SAFE
With a process, you can protect yourself from errors/issues occurring late in a project timeline, and have less risk of going back to step one. You can determine the expectations of each step, and if they are not met, you can identify them early before a project gets too far ahead and before you are forced to take a few steps back instead of forward. *Example to be added*
Let’s say you want to run an A/B experiment on a webpage to see which design outperforms one another. There can be a lot of confusion without a process as there can be multiple groups involved at different stages of the project. One team designs the experiment, one team validates the designed content, and another team builds out the experience. Now, to add another factor, let’s say we need to launch this test in a week. How would these teams be able to execute the delivery of this test smoothly? Plotting out each step in a process, and even approval sign-offs are one way to ensure each step in the project is completed and that everyone can move on to the next step.
What if the team starts to build the experience off the initial design before all is approved/validated? Countless times I’ve see this result in a set back, where the whole team has to go back to the design phase. This means that whatever was built initially has to be completely redone.
There is also less chance of you getting the “individual” blame if you have a process and something still goes awry. If you are part of a team, and you are seeing fingers pointed at you for something you did, look to build a process to avoid the same mistakes in the future. If there is already a process in place, maybe it isn’t working and you need to improve it or take another direction. Put blame on the process, and improve it to improve your results.
S – SUCCESS
Creating a process for everything you do and working constantly to improve that process will ultimately make you more successful in achieving goals with efficiency and ease.
Without a process, when can you conclude you have succeeded, when there is no identified goal outright to be reached?
I want all that, too. Where to start?
Identify what everyday processes you use, and see which ones you want to improve upon. Start simple. Don’t be afraid to give your process a test run. Be able to place “checkpoints” in your process so you can easily identify any bottlenecks within it and tackle those first. Think of it as a scientific experiment. You have a hypothesis, you test it out, gather results, and then formulate a conclusion of what you expect may occur. Rinse and Repeat.
A quick example: Let’s say you are not getting much of a response from a report you send out every morning to a specific group. Maybe you can get a better response by testing out some other timeframes. Maybe you will get a good response at one time, but you may get even more useful responses and from more of the group if you send out a report at another time. You take note and keep building on what you do when you decide when in your process to send out that report.
Also, know that your process may fail from time to time, as we aren’t perfect. We learn only by doing, which is why I encourage you to keep improving upon the process.
“Everything is an experiment.”
― Tibor Kalman