Process is an illusion

Recently I read two blog entries about software development processes, The “Any” process by Laurent Bossavit and About People, Tools and Processes by Mishkin Berteig.Reading these entries, I realized that processes don’t exist – they’re an illusion. A process is a (mental) model that you project on what you hear and see, to make sense of what’s happening and what people are doing.

This implies that you cannot follow a process, let alone install or prescribe a process. It’s not possbile to change or improve a process directly. Instead, you can do system interventions and observe whether these influence the processes as you perceive them; you can e.g. facilitate, introduce practices, describe procedures, remove obstacles, but you cannot influence the process directly.