Strange as it may seem, there are still many pockets of resistance to the ever growing pressure for clean, crisply defined processes in your business. Where there were once many different methods and approaches for doing a certain task, in many cases they've been process managed into one well packaged, slick operation complete with documentation, statistical process control and metrics.
But in some areas, there remains what I like to call the "ad hocracy". That is, there is either a bias for doing things in an ad hoc way, or there are areas of your business where the daily demands for six sigma process perfection have not drifted down. Of course there are clearly some business functions where it can be difficult to define a delineated process. What is the ad hocracy and what does it mean for your business?
There are three reasons an "ad hocracy" exists:
1. No one wants to define the process and are not comfortable allowing others to define it. This is a challenge of CONTROL by an individual or group.
2. The work is infrequent and occasional, so it does not appear worthy to be defined. This is a challenge of FREQUENCY of the work and possibly VALUE of the work
3. It is simply too difficult to define the processes since the work changes frequently. This is a challenge of SCOPE and definition of the work.
So, mostly, people don't Want it, don't think they Need it, or can't Define it. Where is an ad hocracy likely to exist? Most likely in places that are fairly opposite from Six Sigma successes - anything that is highly variable, not transactional and not well defined, where a small team can work without communicating or interfacing to other people.
Where, then, will an ad hocracy exist? In a number of places in the business:
- true strategic planning - done infrequently by a small number of people with little process
- disruptive innovation - done infrequently by a small number of people with little process
- Short term collaboration or teamwork projects - where the timeframes seem to short to agree to work on common tools and processes
- In any small workgroup or team where the leadership is feels threatened with loss of control if standard tools and techniques are used
The ad hocracy isn't necessarily wrong in all cases. Some work is done so infrequently that it simply isn't worth having a defined process and set of metrics. But what is important if an ad hocracy exists is having a leader or manager who can work effectively in those circumstances. Even a person with poor leadership and management skills can be effective in a situation where there are many defined processes and metrics. It takes a very special manager and leader to make an ad hocracy effective. That's why most of them have (hopefully) been process managed right out of existence.