The power of process

Atul Gawande writes in the New Yorker about the impact of the checklist in the world of medicine. Process is helpful in complex tasks. Having worked at more than one startup now, I've seen this evolution before. The early days, when a company is understaffed, so many massive projects depend on the willpower and energy of a select few. One or two strong and talented personalities drives work to completion. There are so many places something can go wrong or be dropped, but when projects are pulled off, heroes are made.

Over time, though, the scalable route is to hire more specialists and systematize workflows. There are fewer heroes, work becomes more routine, and those who thrive on flying without a checklist move on in chase of the next adrenaline rush.