Value People Process

People Process Technology.  Few can dispute the importance of each of these three words in an organization.  There may be disagreement on the order of the words – my argument being that for years organizations have focused on the technology, glanced at the process, and ignored the people – thus one of the reasons for many IT failures organizations experience.  To break this trend, the approach I’ve espoused is to Focus on the Process while Engaging and Involving the People to Prepare for Technology.  I’m convinced this is the right approach when addressing these three words.  But, are they the right three words we should be focusing on?

The other day, Chris Potts ( and I had a twitter exchange on this topic and he suggested something different: Value People Process.  Chris says Technology is really part of Process.  I think he’s on to something here.

People Process Technology implies that each word represents a separate entity.  For years this was true – Technology truly was viewed as separate from People and Process.  However, as Technology permeates and becomes ingrained in our daily lives, Technology becomes a tool to accomplish the Process.  It has become integrated into the Process.

Value implies a higher and more strategic view, and is often something we either take for granted, or overlook completely.  Defining the Value that is being delivered (to the customer) is required to ensure the People are delivering a Process that adds to the customer’s experience.

So with this in mind, perhaps it now should be:

–          Define the Value and purpose

–          Focus on the Process that enables delivery of the Value

–          Engage and Involve the People to define the Value and Process

What are your thoughts?  Let me know!


5 thoughts on “Value People Process

  1. I am not comfortable with the new twist. It may take time to digest and buy in, but for now the displacement of Technology by Value doesn’t make sense to me. For years, we talk about People-Process-Technology being the 3 components that form a complete picture, i.e. I can say P+P+T = True IT or P+P+T = Business. I can subscribe to the new twist P+P+T = Value, but P+P+V = What?

  2. Glenn,

    I have a slightly different take. The People, Process and Technology triangle, to me, is about balancing a path to successful execution of a project. Value is about determining if a project should be done.

    I would resist adding “value” into the realm of execution team considerations. There is enough difficulty balancing the people, process and technology triangle.

    Business leaders need to make business value decisions. They also need to make decisions about when a project needs to be killed. Those two things require enough backbone to make and stick with decisions, that I wouldn’t want business leaders getting sucked into the people, process and technology quagmire.

    All this is theoretically clear, however, in the real world, business leaders abdicate decision making or decision responsibility.

    C’est la Vie

  3. Glenn,

    I like the distinction of value here. For the past decade I have been talking about Capabilities. Capabilities define the outcomes that a business depends on to create value for its customers. A capability is described by an outcome and a purpose, it is a what.

    Once you have your capabilities sorted out, you get to look at the best way to align the resources of the business with the capabilities. We can get caught up in the how discussion when you don’t separate the how from the what. People, process, technology, and data are hows.

    Once we change the discussion to business value and business capabilities, we change the conversation we are having with the business leaders. Change your second point to Focus on Capabilities that are core to the delivery of value. Then we have a very consistent message.

  4. How about we build people capability to innovate
    customer deliverable before we start building
    processes? People then become the basis of
    validation and expectation. This way, processes become footprints, and people become the launch mechanism that sets technology airborn for greater trajectory

    Technology becomes airborne
    instead of footprints –

  5. Glenn,

    Interesting question. I think that you have hit the nail on the head that focus on value is often neglected in many organizations. However, I tend to agree with the first poster in that I believe value to be an output of the other three components.

    I suppose I view technology in the its broadsest sense, the things/tools available to us. I view people as people only, and I see the process as the steps by which people and technology interact. As a mathematical analogy, I see people and technology as the two operands, and process as an operator with value as the result.

    People (Process) Technology = Value

    Given people, technology and a process, some value (or lack of) results. This is the issue you highlight with a lack of focus on value. The other elements may not generate the desired outcome no matter how much we focus on them.

    In a performance improvement environment, you define a value and then alter the other elements to balance the equation.

    To continue with the mathematical analogy, the common “People, Process, Technology” is an expression like cos(x). It becomes much more useful when you add the element of value and make it an equation (cos(x)= 1/2). I believe that we must be aware of and balance all four elements to be successful. One man’s opinion anyway.


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