Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cycle Of A Process Is More Than Inputs And Outputs

The cycle of a process is more than to input data, turn this data inputs into actionable items and wait for results. A process itself might be simple, complex or beyond currently invented capabilities. It's an assumption that a process is only as good as the inputs, and if the input is trash, then trash becomes the output. At the other end of the spectrum it is assumed that good data produces desirable process results. If these assumptions are true accidents would happen consistently with incorrect inputs, and would never happen with correct inputs. The pilot of an airplane rolling down the runway for takeoff has already put in place inputs to the processes for a safe flight and to arrive safely at destination as planned.


In a process with no variables, the output of a process would be in a Standard Atmospheric Condition.
 As a very young person, I would place my glass of milk at the edge of the table for easy reach. This did not fit the process for good input. So, the glass was moved to the top of the plate where it could not fall to the floor, since I had become known to spill the milk and accidentally push the glass over. I had not yet grown up to the size of an adult who developed the processes and it became a challenge to reach the glass. When placed at the edge of the table I had control of the process and could reach it without applying other variables than to reach for it. As the glass was placed farther away  I was faced with variables of leaning forward, move a bit higher, at the same time as I reached for the glass. As often, the milk was spilled since these variables were not trained for, or accounted for by the process-developers.

It is true that input of a process is a contributing factor of outcome, but only becomes a fact when there are no variables. When variables are removed the process is only as good as the inputs. However, when variables are presents the process is only as good as the quality assurance of output control. 

Unless the variables of a process is accounted for, the process outcome is random.

One quality of human factors is resilience, or the ability to bounce back from an unexpected variable. Humans have the ability to react both with a proactive solution, or with a reactive solution. Human factors also have the ability to apply unconventional process adjustments to return back to desired outcome. It is when variables are not accounted for that perfectly good inputs to a process could produce catastrophic result. The cycle of a process does not stop with the output or result. The cycle ends when human factors take control of quality assurance of the output. Safety in processes is only as good as the human control of the output.

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