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Is there a point at which the process gets in the way and becomes an end unto itself?

Heavy processes are common, unfortunately. Some people - especially management - religiously imagine that processes produce products. So they overdo the processes and forget that it's really a handful of hard-working, smart people who actually create the products. For upper management, it's frightening to even think that their business is in the hands of few geeks, and so the close their eyes from the reality and think of their dear "process" instead, which gives them the illusion of control.

That's why agile startups with a handful of good engineers can beat big, established corporations, whose workers spend 95 % of their energy on process and reporting. Some examples of once small startups that once did beat their competitors and/or created completely new markets:

  • Apple (Apple I was created by 1 engineer; there were 3 men at the company back then).
  • Google (created originally by 2 programmers).
  • Facebook (1-man effort originally).
  • Microsoft (2-man company in 1975).

One could easily say that these are just outliers, extreme exceptions, and to do something serious, you'd better be a big, established corporation. But the list goes on. And on. It's embarrassingly long. Almost every today-major corporation started as a garage shop, which did something unusual. Something weird. They were doing it wrong. Do you think they were doing it according to the process?