People, process, and technology.
- Announce a policy; full adoption.
- Map a process; cycle time guaranteed.
- Buy a server; flip the switch.
Seems so simple.
Interconnections. Systems. No. Never simple.
The intent of keeping people, process, and technology in mind is thinking through the impact change has on the three. Identify that impact and then you should have a good idea of what it will take for a project or effort to succeed.
Thinking strategy, systems, and change initiatives the three make for good sanity checks.
The reality is that people, process, and technology do not add to a full picture. This heuristic trinity leaves a critical hole, in reality you should divide all three by the most important factor: behavior.
Too often within the three, process and technology take a majority of dialogue and budget.
Perhaps people, often considered the soft side, represent the heart of change challenges. Dealing with people is more difficult than plugging a machine.
It is easier, on paper, to map a process or design a system than to build new behaviors. But, without people, who follows process? And without people who turns on, utilizes, and maintains the technology?
People, process, and technology. Planning without deep exploration that the impact change has on all three is a project aiming for the scrap heap. The hardest part, is the softest part: people. Usually the soft gets ignored to get on to the hard work of process maps or vendor selection.
However, the soft is the hard, perhaps that is why the people part gets ignored: too hard to deal with.
Admittedly, the people portion might include a review of new skills needed, the new competencies developed, the new reporting relationships, or the new span of control. But, without a focus on behavior, people, process, and technology does not cover a true impact analysis:
- People: identify the behaviors needed to sustain progress.
- Process: identify the behaviors that exhibit commitment.
- Technology: identify the behaviors for target utilization.
People, process, and technology is not a law, it is a rule of thumb; we could quibble that people should not need it’s own category, as both process and technology rely on people.
However, it is clear in most change that people draw the short straw in design. So, let’s add a policy to include behavior in the functional design:
- What are the behaviors expected?
- When are they expected?
- How are they expected to change?
- What happens if they do not change?
Recently I felt lucky to get a solid refresh to the oft-quoted S.M.A.R.T. goal design by introducing “Y”, as in WHY are you even doing this, I’d like some more discussion on the behaviors expected for people, process, and technology to succeed.
Behaviors as a denominator keeps end-user adoption in mind from the start.