Wednesday, May 23

How to be simple, and why

I was invited to present some findings to the management team of a business this morning, and gave the group one memorable story to take away.

A process they'd been pinning the business on since 2002 had grown so weedy with neglect that it now takes 47 steps to complete. But wait...

In the course of those steps there are four points at which, if you skip a step or make a mistake, your work is lost and you must start again.

During the process you need to have five programs open, plus at least two instances of Internet Explorer (one browser-based tool won't work properly with Firefox) You also need to use at least one of four Word macros.

During the process, you use a browser interface that includes features nobody knows how to use, features that aren't enabled, and other features that don't work.

There is even an error message that pops up towards the end of the process which is incorrect, and can be safely ignored... as long as you don't get into the habit of ignoring any other error messages.

There are two people who spend much of their working day repeating this process, up to ten times each, per day. Imagine what it must be like to be one of those people!

The Laws Of Simplicity is an awesome book in these situations.

(Tip of that hat to Scott)

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