My current project is updating the corporate website to ensure our messaging and differentiators are clearly defined. I'm working with an HTML editor that on ocassion will switch fonts or not accept a style sheet. The gentleman at the next desk ("The Boss") has suggested a few workarounds. Does that ever cause the hair on the back of your neck to go up?
Short term, I guess, productivity is increased when we find ways to "work around" the existing processes or systems. Over time, however, these work arounds or short cuts become ingrained in our operations, so that even when we have new tools and processes, we keep the old work arounds because we've become accustomed to them. I'll give you an example. I did some consulting for a firm that created designs for hotels. As we were working to document the existing process, one of the managers noted that "Doris" would need to be included in the process, because she had always reviewed the documents in the past. When we investigated, we discovered that the reason Doris had reviewed the designs in the past was based on the fact that numbering schemes had changed in the past and Doris had always ensured the numbering systems were correct. Instead of ensuring that all individuals worked with the new design system and new numbering system, Doris had become a stop-gap when the numbering system changed, and her review step in the process had become ingrained over time.
Work arounds and short cuts may seem like productivity enhancers in the short run, but over time they become part of the process and create evolutionary dead ends to the existing process and make it even more difficult to simplify and streamline a process later on. When you encounter a "work around" or a "short cut" in a business process (usually documented on sticky notes inside someone's desk drawer), find out why it exists and take steps to eliminate the bottleneck or shortcoming it was built to address. Taking the time to improve each step of the process and optimize the steps rather than allow creeping incrementalism and ad-hoc work arounds will ensure each process flows smoothly and efficiently.