Policy scars

Adam Kalsey is getting Policy scars from 37signals:

37signals says that policies are like scar tissue: they're created as an overreaction to a negative experience and hurt, not help an organization.

Policies are everywhere.  It's kind of like rationalization: try making it through a day without one (paraphrasing Jeff Goldblum in The Big Chill).  The problem with policies is that they can blind us to opportunities to do things a different way.  Even policies that are put into place to reinforce a positive change can get in the way of a later, even better change.

I recently had a customer tell me they couldn't work on a critical activity past 1 pm because the people responsible for the next step in the operation leave at 2 pm.  When asked for more details, it turns out the second group arrives several hours BEFORE the first group (to do other things).  With this clearly before everyone, they were able to change the policy and have a couple people from the second group start at a different time.  This change moves them down the path of a 50% capacity increase. 

Once you know what they are and can see their impact, policies can be changed quickly.

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