The Flow.
The Workflow.
The Chain of Activities.
The Process.

Things may happen & one day cruel, merciless & vengeful fate may put you in charge of defining how people are supposed to work. Or how are their tools supposed to aid their work. It's quite a wide topic and there's a lot to be said / written about that, but for now I'm gonna mention just one thing: disastrous anti-pattern named:

Fast Track

What is Fast Track? The need for Fast Track occurs when workflow / process participants rebel against set rules & demand for workarounds / shortcuts, because they don't want to follow the usual routine. It usually happens when:

  • process is too complex
  • process involves activities with dubious value (that seem not to add any value)
  • process is too slow when urgency is high
  • process has a bottleneck
  • ... or people don't understand that some burden can't be avoided (due to transparency, security, law obligation, etc.)

In such case process custodian / designer may bend under pressure (usually not immediately, it depends on how strong the pressure is) and introduce so-called Fast Track: the way to walk-around / remove the burden for those who want to do that.

Why / When is it wrong?

Yeah, what's wrong in addressing people's valid concern? Aren't we supposed to make things work smoothly and remove impediments that happen? Why being a stubborn asshole instead?

The point is:

Everything should be a Fast Track.

If something doesn't work, doesn't meet the needs, doesn't reflect the reality or just doesn't help (add value), just don't pretend it's all cool and "enrich" it with a parallel Fast Track - fix the actual issue! What's the point in Slow Track? Is it ...

  • ... for idiots, who didn't realize there's a Fast Track available?
  • ... to pretend you're conforming some norms & standards you truly don't?
  • ... to prove that you never err? ;P


I'm not against Fast Track, I am against Slow Track

Instead of hacking the reality, put the intellectual effort in making things work as intended. If the crowd demands a Fast Track:

  • Find out what's the actual impediment / obstacle
    • Why is it painful?
    • Can you really get rid of it?
    • Aren't you breaking any valid rules that way?
  • How deep is the problem?
    • Is your Fast Track gonna fix it or just paint the grass to make it appear green?
    • Won't it actually cause more trouble than gain?
  • Does the model you use truly correspond to the reality it serves?
    • Do roles match actual people and their duties?
    • Or are you just forcing your own, twisted perspective no-one understands?

Fast Track != Optimization

Optimizing is awesome, but if it means just creating random shortcuts without giving the topic any deeper thought, I sense no purpose in that. And I object that.

To be honest, all Fast Track cases I can recall from past had nothing in common with improving the actual situations:

Person #1: We have so many hotfixes, that we need a fast track for processing their acceptance without involving all those decision-makers, notifications, voting ...

Person #2: About that step for Role X - you know, they don't wanna do that, because IRL they don't have time for this. That's why we've added a Fast Track option for the ones who'd like to skip these steps.

Person #3: This may work when we start our work, but once deadlines are approaching, we need Fast Track option - I'm not going to wait for someone reviewing my code, I'll review my code myself.

Hopefully no additional comments are needed here.

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