ProcessOverhead

ConflictCluster

Quality management usually focuses on processes or procedures. ISO 9000 basically requires you to

  1. describe existing processes
  2. tell everybody to conform to this written "knowledge"
  3. when problems appear, find a solution and update the process documentation

This "proves" that the group will be improving indefinitely, because it is all documented.

The problem with this and similar solutions is that this creates a large overhead. In group, processes are often well-understood without having been written down.

Generally, associations and clubs can suffer from process overhead as well. "Writing down the house rules" is a job that attracts methodical people, people that enjoy the thought of using rules to weld humans into an organization that is larger than the individual. Other people, however, are turned off by this complexity. Therefore, we need to keep proccess overhead down.

In online communities this is even more accentuated: Creating new mailing lists or wikis is so easy these days that long debates whether and how these should be created is a waste of time and energy, because setting up the new community infrastructure requires so little time and energy. Instead of asking "Do you want to create the new community X?" the need to keep process overhead down transforms this into the action "Create community X" and the question "Please join the new community X". The decision-making process has been transformed from a discussion to a choice of action.

Keeping discussion down in the belief that this keeps process down may not always work. It is a delicate game you're playing.

cf. MeatBall:VotingIsEvil, especially The Case of news:soc.culture.tibet.

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