You don't automatically associate the inner workings of pipes with business processes. But it's something we've been thinking about recently. The complex layout of pipes all leading to different places, the maintenance and checks, there's a surprising amount of similarities with plumbing. Particularly with software and delivery processes.
What's all this pipe chat about then?
Processes, like plumbing, are a series of interconnected information and action routes. These act like pipes. And these pipes transport all sorts, like liquids and gases, to lots of different places.
Getting from A to B
If we strip everything back, the basic function of a pipe (to get something from one place to another) is the same as basic objective of delivering a project. To take something from a source location and deliver it to the client.
Ahh, but if only it was that simple. Pipes are subject to multiple variables that affect their functionality. Put too much pressure in the pipe, and whoops, you've sprung a leak. A single pipe can only handle so much at once.
Not all pipes are the same
There are many methodology processes (like waterfall and agile) and tools (like kanban boards) that can be useful to protect against the potential for leaky pipes. However, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't align with all the specific needs of individual businesses.
Each business process has certain areas that need reinforcing, similar to the parts of the pipe network where problems occur regularly. These areas, along with specific pipes, need special attention to patch, widen or strengthen.
Stabilising the pipe network
By focusing on individual pipes and how they fit into the wider network, it's possible to get them running far more efficiently and get more through them. By tweaking them, the pipe infrastructure, and your business processes, can be far more stable and productive.