Vintage: Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.*
Recently, I sat in on an employee interview for a business analyst position, and the interviewee referred to an old process as a "Vintage Process." I chuckled when he uttered the phrase, because there is such irony when you put the two words together.
Vintage cars, or jeans, or t-shirts, or jukeboxes evoke a sense of awe, because they just look cool. It may be many years old, but a vintage item is always cool. I know nothing about cars. Truth be told, my only interest in cars has to do with finding one that will safely carry my family and me to where we need to go. But when I see a vintage car, I can’t help but to stare.
A process, on the other hand, should never be "vintage." A process should always be fresh. There are just to many forces pushing processes to change, including our customers’ expectations, new technologies, and our experiences. Twenty years ago, your company may have had an innovative process that helped your company to become a world leader. The process may even be described in textbooks and case studies as a "classic." I bet that your company no longer uses that process in the same form. If it does, your company is probably no longer a world leader.
Some key signals that your company has a "vintage" process:
- "This is the way we’ve always done it, and it works well."
- "This is what set us apart from the competition and helped us get
to our IPO."
- "Put Legacy System Name here has been around since we started and
it’s very difficult to get any changes implemented."
These are just a few, but I’m sure you’ve all heard others. Please post some of your vintage process experiences here…
*Dictionary definition of vintage on Answers.com. The American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright (c) 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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