Opinions vs processes

Posted on October 29, 2018 · 3 mins read · tagged with: #business #personal

I think this is a bug.

We need to upgrade it.

You are wrong.

All sentences above are somewhat related to the opinions. This holds true if they are not followed by a reference to some data points. Recently, the process-oriented approach seems to be getting stronger in my life and I wanted to share a few thoughts related to processes being so much better than opinions. All the examples below can be divided by four. They are just made bigger to show what I mean, without writing 20 pages of text.

Don’t make it personal

Opinions are personal. You may take your dis-attachment pills daily, but even after overdosing them, the conflict based on the one’s perception might be very personal. If you disagree with an opinion, you disagree with a person. If you disagree with a process, this is a different story. A process is just a text, written in a markdown, doc or a piece of paper. You might disagree with it bringing new data and then augment it when needed. The pain of disagreement is much smaller.

Changing process

To make this work you need a process for augmenting your processes. An RFC before making a big change is a good way to go. Still, anyone interested should be able to bring their data to the table, to make the process better or stop it from becoming worse. This is a separate field on its own, meaning:

  1. how to include everyone
  2. how to ensure that a consensus is reached (or at least agreement on a commitment, with no passive aggression)
  3. how to collect and validate data

Still, the process orientation makes it, in my opinion (huh, I still have some of t hem) clearer not only for the current decision making, but future versions of you.

Processes in personal life

Recently, I went through a serious decision making, having similar in house conversations about the same topic multiple times. I noticed that my opinions were depending on the enjoyment, on my level of energy and even, when the final outcome was the same, going through this over and over seemed to me very tiring. I followed the dots and wrote a personal process, something that I can follow when a similar issue pops up and I need to do it again, even, without discussing it with other people. Now, I have a few questions and steps to follow. I can disagree with it, but then, hey, I’ll just send a PR to myself.

Where does it come from

I cannot attribute a single source for this change (who can), but the following sources were invaluable. I link either the source, or my review:

  1. Ray Dalio “Principles” - why do I know I’m right?
  2. Michael E. Gerber “E-Myth Revisisted” - a business take on having different hats and defined repeatable processes
  3. Six Thinking Hats: An Essential Approach to Business Management using different hats for doing different things, inspired by various blog posts and discussions in Particular Software.


As a summary, let’s leave Ray’s Dalio quote:

How do I know I’m right?