Avoiding Process Blindness


The majority of Document Control professionals suffers from the fact that their interfaces do not understand how much work goes behind Document Control tasks, and the processes that Document Control professionals must go through.


A typical example is that many users expect their documents to be distributed within five minutes of having sent it to the Document Controller. What they fail to take into consideration and what they do not understand is all the actions that a Document Controller must execute before they can eventually distribute the document to the relevant recipients.


Users who behave like that exhibit a condition that we will call “Process Blindness” for the purpose of this article.



What is "Process Blindness"?


It is the inability of one person, called here the “expectant”:

  • to imagine 
  • to perceive 
  • to understand 
  • to fathom 
  • or to guess 

the processes or even the existence of the processes that an interface – called here the “performer” must follow in order:

  • to perform a task 
  • to conduct an activity 
  • or to obtain a certain output 

in the pursuit of an end-result expected by the “expectant”.


Or, in very plain terms the “I do not understand the complexity of what you have to do, therefore I am making your life difficult or I am complaining about how much time you are taking” syndrome.



Not very catchy if it were to be a scientific term, is it?



Process blindness is more common than one may think. Indeed, people tend to see life:

  • through the prism of their own experience 
  • from the standpoint of their personal perspective
  • from within the bounds of the “sandbox” in which they exist.

This obliviousness (towards what people do not know) results in situations such as that described by Figure 1 and Figure 2, whereby the expectant grossly underestimates the amount of work that the performer has to undertake in order to deliver the end-result.


It also results in funny situations such as that described on Figure 3.



To be a more competent person, each and everyone of us must always wonder what process our interfaces have to follow to obtain the end-result that we are expecting… Otherwise, we may suffer from process blindness and we may be that person who makes things a lot more unpleasant than they need to be.


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