From The Art Of Community by O'Reilly ( by Jono Bacon

Processes: Simple is Sustainable

The inverse of simplification is complexity, and we don’t like complexity around these parts. Complex processes are ugly beasts, and their effect is to merely build bureaucracy. You need to avoid this 11-letter word at all costs. Bureaucracy is the enemy in this chapter: it is the vitriol that breaks down the opportunity, potential, and belief that we celebrated so strongly earlier in this book. Great processes blend into the background, functioning as required and as expected. Great processes let people get on with doing real, human, interesting things. Bad processes serve as nothing more than a dartboard for your contributors to throw their frustration at.

Processes are everywhere in communities, determining how:

  • New people join.
  • People submit contributions.
  • People collaborate together.
  • People deal with conflict, and so on.

It is no coincidence that the word “people” is in each of those examples: people are the foundation of community, and for us to ensure these people can work well together, we need to focus on people at the foundation of our processes.

When we (a) know which processes we need to create, and (b) make them delightfully simple, our community members can get on with enjoying the community that they signed up for.

Keeping Things in Perspective

Here is the crux of how we frame this perspective: processes are useful when they become a means to an end.

I raise this distinction for an important reason: building processes is a core activity in governing a group of people. Unfortunately, all too often the act of governing can overtake the goals of the governance. Always bear this in mind when building your processes, and always ensure you are not building processes for the sake of building processes. Not all problems can be solved with documentation and rules.

BuildingCommunity/ProcessesSimpleisSustainable (last edited 2010-09-07 02:21:03 by pendulum)