Technology cannot function without process; Broken technology is the same as a broken process.

Process versus technology is a hard distinction for a lot of people.  Humans are programmed to think very simply about tools.  The process that goes with “hammer” is “hit.”  The process that goes with “spear” is “stab.”  As tools get more complicated, the associated process gets more complicated.  Sewing machines, cars, etc have multi-step processes.  Physical devices are fairly easy to understand as their form often follows their function.

Software is a different animal.  There is no physical form that forces you to follow a given process.  It’s up to each person to learn the process they are supposed to keep and then actually follow it.  The software doesn’t stop working just because you forgot to tell someone a critical piece of information but then tell the computer it was finished.  Software has difficulty with omissions and physical interaction.

When working in a software world you have three choices: 1) build the software so robust that it has checks and balances to detect when something is not right (expensive) or 2) ensure there is rigorous manual controls in place to ensure compliance (offline processes) or 3) create software so useful and easy that it is better to use it than not.  The problem with #3 is that everyone always wants more “controls” which don’t work in a world of easy.


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