Emergent processes: what does it mean

Since my last post, I’ve built on the glossary for modern teams and reflected on philosophies shared by Jeff Bezos and Henry Mintzberg. Both have their fair share of public critics, but they are still venerable individuals in the world of leadership.

Around the same time, I started reading up on organisational development practices – again. I find that it definitely informs my research on agile team dynamics. Once in a while, I’ll read something that makes me sit up and think.

The moment I read about emergent processes was one of those. At its core, an emergent process is a non-routine business process where the knowledge and methods for making it happen emerge as it happens.

It seems like something that may be possible when your team’s laid out for parallel workflows. Different parts of the team, as they progress, shaping team-mate’s or interdependent process’s ongoing activity, as well as the team’s overall output.

I had never heard of the concept before yesterday. A quick Google search shows that the term has made rounds in academia for just over a decade. I suppose it’s time for it to shine in the actual world of work.