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INSPIRED, 2nd Edition by Marty Cagan

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Process @ Scale

Overview

It is understandable that, as companies grow, they become more risk averse. When you're small there really isn't much to lose, but as you get to scale, there is quite a lot on the line, and many people from across the company are there to try to protect those assets.

One way companies try to protect what they've achieved is to institute process by formalizing and standardizing how things are done in the name of reducing error or risk. This applies from how we get reimbursed for travel expenses, to how we request a change to a report, to how we discover and deliver product.

In many areas, such as expense reporting, it's an irritant but not likely to make the difference between success and failure of the company.

On the other hand, it is all too easy to institute processes that govern how you produce products that can bring innovation to a grinding halt. Nobody does this intentionally, but it happens so frequently, in so many companies, that I find it quite remarkable.

As just one example in the process area, Agile methods are generally very conducive to consistent innovation. Yet there are several process consultancies that specialize in “Agile at Scale,” which introduce methods and structures intended to scale to large numbers of engineers, yet which absolutely destroy any hope of innovation.

It does not have to be this way. ...

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