Chapter 4

An overview of generic process frameworks

Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.

—Julie Andrews

Defining procedures is a common way of ensuring that people are clear about what needs to be done and how to do it. Procedures can also be a way of ensuring that quality and consistency are maintained across different applications over time. If both these objectives are important, effective and efficient procedures need to be simple, transparent and repeatable – but not all processes fit this mould. Some uncertainty management processes need to be sophisticated, subtle and unique in a creative sense. PUMPs of the kind needed for planning offshore projects as discussed in Chapter 3 are at the sophisticated and creative end of the scale. The designs of relatively simple uncertainty management processes, like the BCS and Highways Agency examples discussed in Chapter 2, have to draw on the same general principles as the offshore examples to achieve clarity efficiency. A simplistic basis is not good enough for any context addressed by this book.

For all management processes, the level of detail that is appropriate, and the extent to which a prescriptive approach can be used, depends upon the context and complexity of the overall task. For situations involving limited scope and limited complexity plus low uncertainty, formal, tightly defined processes with specific steps can be used. In the limit, formalization can involve ...

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