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From the author of Questioned: Process

Questioned: Process

Finally, I mentioned the idea that to be consistently successful, you must have a repeatable process.

Jared Spool (founder of User Interface Engineering, and my coauthor for the book Web Anatomy) once decided to take a look at this question—to find out what the best web teams had in common, and what the worst ones had in common. And again, what we found was surprising.

He found that the best teams—the teams earning the most provable success most consistently—were teams that had no process. They had a bunch of tools, tricks, and techniques, as Jared calls them. They had generalists, and maybe a specialist or two. And on any given project, they hand-picked the tools they would use to solve the problem and they improvised.

What did the worst teams have in common? They lived and died by their processes. And in following these processes, they consistently produced mediocre or even failing work.

What Jared found is that despite that so many designers advocate so vehemently for a solid and repeatable process, the best teams work without one.

By questioning the value of process, Jared discovered that it may in fact be working against us. And that we should focus not on refining our process, but on mastering techniques and on learning to improvise.

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