Unnecessary process steps

LEAN is greatly concerned with waste, and yet we often don’t see it when it is right before our eyes.  Take for example, granting access to a particular website.  These days, its downright commonplace for you to simply create your own account and get going.  You name it – Facebook, banks, online retailers – all off them just let you make your own account.  And some of these places are dealing with your finances or your credit card!

Yet, we don’t think much of it.  In fact, we sort of take for granted that people just create their accounts as they need them.  But in corporate environments, not so much.  Here we rely on access requests, either emailed about or managed through service request tracking systems.  In some cases, the protection is necessary.  Companies often have closely guarded marketing plans which they want as few people to know about as possible.  But, in many cases, we make people request access to things that we’d never deny them access to.

It might not seem like much to deal with an access request.  What is it after all, less than a minute, maybe two minutes at most to create the account for someone?  But what is that cost over months or years?  It’s like a form of water torture… drip, drip, drip.  And what about the person waiting for access, twiddling their thumbs while they wait for someone else to finally get around to granting the access they need to do their job presumably?

Things like this slowly eat away at your productivity.  One little innocent but unnecessary request at a time.  If you’re never going to deny an access request, then why have access requests at all?  Just open up the system and let the users in, or leverage single-sign-on to track who does use the resources.  But having the process step of requesting access just because it’s a corporate norm… silly (and wasteful).

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