The process construct is a blueprint for running the operations of Org. A project construct defines the plans that we make to change Org. The former ensures performance whilst the latter secures relevance. Process and project constructs must therefore give an integrated solution to the performance and relevance of Org.
We cannot understand these constructs in isolation. They are both interdependent and dual. In terms of resources, they are also inverse, because they draw from the same resource pool. I.e., an increase if resources for strategy will decrease the resources for operations. The process construct depicts operations, whilst the project construct depicts strategy. In so, operations ensure performance whilst strategy secures relevance.
From this it is clear that we must grasp the process and project constructs in an interdependent way. Also, we must see their interdependence as dual and not linear.
If the primary task of Org is to perform and stay relevant, then we need distinct methods for each, because performance and relevance do not run on the same rules. Performance happens when we efficiently repeat the past. Contrariwise, we are relevant when we effectively engage with the future.
The project and process constructs create a receptive / projective duality. Jointly, they express the dual part of orgtology's Hypothesis 2x. The purpose of the process construct is to define a method for organisational performance. The purpose of a project construct is to give a method that will keep the process construct relevant.
The aim of the process / project interdependence is to ease continuity of performance. Through such continuity, Org stays relevant.
Any organisation has a life span, which implies a life cycle. We can depict the life cycle of Org through a bell curve. The curve shows birth, peak performance, and death. The same applies to any living entity.
The duration of an organisational life cycles depends on many variables. Currently there is evidence that process-based organisations outlast project or R & D companies by far. What this means is that where Org runs on internalised processes, it will exist longer than where it depends on continuous innovation. E.g., The Roman Catholic Church have not changed their processes much over the last 2000 years. Coca Cola still makes the bulk of their money from a formula that has not changed for over 150 years. The Rolling Stones have been singing the same songs for more than 50 years. Etc.
From an orgtology perspective it is never "either or". Our task is to understand equilibrium. How much algorithmic activity vs. how much abstract thinking must Org have to be both relevant and performing? That is the question. In Hypothesis 2x, algorithmic activity equates receptive activity. In so, abstract thought equates projective activity (the X-factor).
As rule of thumb, I would say 60+ / 40- is a good ratio. Abstract thought must never outweigh algorithmic activity. I.e., our repetitive operations must always outweigh our strategic initiative. In the examples above the ratios are mostly 80/20. I.e., The Catholic Church, Coca Cola, and the Rolling Stones run 80% on repetitive processes and only 20% on strategy and innovation.
Even companies such as Microsoft have opted to be process driven when they introduced Windows and Office 365. It is no longer necessary for them to sell us an updated version. We now rent their product, which they will continually improve. In so, they have shifted from a revolutionary organisation to an evolutionary one. This is essential if Org wants to survive over the long run.
To avoid decline, Org must renew. The project construct drives this needed change. It plans the activity that will keep Org relevant. Therefore, a project construct defines all the change that Org must affect.
In the bell curve above, one can see that Org grows, peak performs at point "A", and then declines. A project construct can work at any of these phases, but it would be best to change at point "A". At this point, change will cause the least stress to Org. It is hard to predict where exactly point "A" is. To identify it, is a leadership skill.
What makes matters worse, is that not all the parts of Org reach point A at the same time. The human body works in the same way. Where one drinks a lot of alcohol, your liver will have a shorter life span than your lungs, etc. In so, various parts of your body have different life spans.
Org must constantly change at peak performance to stay relevant. "E" is an evolutionary slope. It shows how performance can stay consistent and uninterrupted. This is only possible if Org changes at the right place. "R" shows the points of revolution. At these points of change, projects are born. In so, point "E" is driven by the process construct, whilst a project construct drives point "R".
The reality is that Org has a myriad of these curves that will change at various times and places. This brings complexity to the project construct. It is for that reason that we link projects to programs. This makes the project construct manageable.
The Sigmoid Curve is the best way to grasp the complexity of change. Sometime back, a colleague, Brightwell Nkambule, pointed this out to me. Momentum is lost after peak performance. Yet, to move out of a current performance slope is mostly not a smooth transition. Before Org reaches a plateau, it must begin its change process. It is easiest to change whilst still successful. Org manages this change through a project construct. The sketch below illustrates the Sigmoid Curve.
The blue curves show the process construct. It depicts of the performance of Org – the "E" slope. The red area shows the project construct – points "R". Org executes its strategy in the red area. As the two constructs continue to interact, they create a Relevant and Performing Organisation (RPO).
If performance becomes more important than relevance, then relevance will soon become more important than performance. That is the consequence of Hypothesis 2x.
The process and project constructs co-exist in an interdependent way. They do not have a linear relationship. In so, vision is not where we want to go, and mission is not how we will get there. Rather, purpose runs the business, whilst intent changes it. That is the difference between linear and dual thinking.
The process and project constructs both divide and unify Org at the same time. Without either, Org will struggle to exist. Where one becomes weak, either the performance or relevance of Org will suffer. They must both work well.
© Derek Hendrikz: 2021-02-23
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