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People, Process, Technology: The PPT Framework, ExplainedReading time 7 minutes
The people, process, technology (PPT) framework has been around since the early 1960s. Most businesses used it to improve the operational efficiency of their employees and tools. In the late 1990s, it was popularized in the infosec world by Bruce Schneier. These days, most software companies use the framework for information technology management.
And it’s easy to see why. It helps to map the entire value streams of people, processes, and technology. This helps provide full control and visibility into high-performing teams so they can optimize operations and ship faster.
This blog will help you understand what the PPT framework is and how you can leverage it for your organization.
All About the Balance
The PPT framework is all about how the three elements interact. The people do the work. Processes make this work more efficient. Technology helps people do their tasks and also helps automate the processes. Thus, businesses can achieve organizational efficiency by balancing the three and optimizing the relationships between people, processes, and technology.
A good way to think of the framework is to think of it as a three-legged table. If one of the legs is a bit longer or shorter, the whole table will lose its balance. Similarly, if the technology changes, you need to modify the people and processes to adapt to the new tools. For example, many businesses throw new technology and fancy tools at their problems. However, technology is only as effective as the processes utilizing it and the people who handle it.
If organizations don’t implement strong processes, the actions of the people will be highly ineffective. They’ll also waste a lot of the value delivered by technology. If people don’t know how to use the technology properly, then the company won’t create value from its investment in technology. There will be a similar outcome if the new technology doesn’t integrate with the processes. On the other hand, if the organization obsesses too much about the process, then they’ll end up with a good plan on paper but without the right people or the technology to support it.
Thus, businesses need to find the right balance between these three critical components. The PPT framework encourages them to think multidimensionally. But what do these three components encompass?
The “people” refers to the human resources available at the firm’s disposal. The people are the ones who do the tasks described in the process, sometimes by leveraging the technology.
One of the main tasks is to onboard the right people. Businesses need to identify their key employees with the right skills, experience, and attitude for the job at hand. However, more often than not, key individuals are occupied or busy. Thus, the managers will have to wait for these right people to become available, hire new employees for the role, redirect people from other projects, or outsource the tasks to a consultant or agency. These are key decisions that are crucial to the success of the PPT framework impact.
The people also need clear role definitions so everybody knows their responsibilities. This will help in decision-making, technology selection, process deployment, and personnel hiring. So many businesses fall in the trap of concentrating too heavily on technology and processes while almost ignoring the people involved. Thus, ensuring that the team consists of the right people with the right communication is also critical.
Finally, businesses need to get a buy-in from the people. They need to understand what they have to do, why they’re doing it, and how the changes affect them. Without the full buy-in from the people, it’s impossible to implement any new processes or technology. Otherwise, businesses will observe slow adoption or sub-optimal usage. If required, people can be empowered through proper training.
A process is the steps or actions that combine to produce a particular goal. The process in the PPT framework mostly defines the “how” aspect. How will we achieve the desired result? How do we utilize the people and technology to solve the business problem? Processes are repeatable actions that theoretically produce the same result independent of who performs them.
There are a few things to keep in mind while designing and implementing processes:
- It’s imperative people understand how they fit into a process. They should understand the process, what their role is in it, and what they need to achieve. This means communicating the right instructions and training key people. They should be important stakeholders in the process design and review.
- Businesses should identify and focus on the key steps first. These key steps will most likely contribute more to the end result. Thus, improving these steps will have the most impact on process efficiency. Once these are in place, they can start fiddling with the finer details, exceptional cases, and supporting processes.
- One of the most well-known pieces of wisdom in business management is “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Thus, each process needs to have metrics that will measure its success. Organizations have to consider what metrics to track and how to measure them.
- Feedback and constant improvement are important for the process to have the best effect. Many organizations hire expensive consultants to design fancy processes. However, organizations are constantly changing. Technology changes, people change, market conditions change, etc. This can result in the processes becoming less useful over time. Thus, businesses need to constantly monitor and evaluate all their processes to see what’s working and what’s not. Then they need to act on this feedback to tweak the processes so that they keep delivering high value to the business.
Once the people and processes are in place, organizations should consider the technology to support them.
The technology provides the tools that the people can use to implement the process. It also helps automate some parts of the process. Ideally, the latest and fastest technology creates the most impact. It’s very tempting to get attracted to shiny new tools. However, organizations need to make sure that the technology fits into the organization.
Too often companies make huge investments into technology to gain strategic advantages. The people and processes are a second thought. Then they try to fit the people and process into this new technology. But this won’t bring out the best outcome. Technology is nothing without the right people following the right process to support it. Thus, technology should always be the final consideration after the problem is clearly understood, the talent is trained and recruited, and the process requirements have been defined. If the people don’t know how to use it or the process doesn’t utilize it well, then the technology will not bring the best return on investment.
Thus, technology alone will not solve problems. Businesses need to articulate the objectives, define the process, and train the people to leverage technology to its fullest.
How To Transform Your Organization With People, Process, Technology
As mentioned, you need to find a balance between the three components of the PPT framework. You also need to manage how they interact with each other. This will help your organization increase operational efficiency and improve resource utilization. Hence, you need to complete an audit of your existing processes and technology to understand what’s working and identify the problems. There are various tools to help you do this, such as Plutora’s platform. They help manage the entire value stream and visualize the people, processes, and tools. This provides complete visibility into the people, processes, and technologies for software development. Thus, you’ll gain key insights to make data-driven improvements. You can identify choke points, eliminate waste, increase efficiency, and reduce time to value by leveraging the PPT framework.