The Right Tool for the Job

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Drilling a hole on a wall seems to be a fairly straightforward task. You pin-point the location for the hole and drill. I attempted to do so to hang a large painting. As it turned out, there was more to it. Once I chose the spot for the hole, I needed to determine if there is a stud behind the dry wall to support the weight of the painting. A heavy painting requires a longer screw. Without an electric drill, a good 10-minute brutal force with a screwdriver didn’t get me very far. I got frustrated.

Just like any task, using the right tool definitely helps with speed and quality. Do you use the right tools to run your business? Deploying inappropriate tools results in:

·         Mediocre outcome

·         Consuming more resources than necessary

·         Unexpected negative effects

·         Poor morale

Unfortunately, the ideal tool might not be readily available. The best tact is to simplify how you do what is needed.

Simplification could be achieved in different ways. Consider a deficient software application used to track work progress,

1.       Eliminate tasks that are not required. This is the most effective way to simplify what you need to do. Tracking is meaningful to the extent that it records the start and end of a task. There is no need to report on ‘pending’ status multiple times by different areas involved.

2.       Seek more direct approaches that serve the same purpose. Intermediate steps such as reviews and signoffs slow down the cycle time. Revisit their necessity. Most of the time, they are introduced to keep people and departments happy. Excessive handling adds tracking needs.

3.       Revisit the rules that might be overly conservative. Intertwined business rules require additional logic. The different permutations require extending the capability of the software. Check the validity of the rules. Consult others if specific rules could be eliminated.

4.       Identify ways to bypass the constraints of the tool. This is a worthy consideration when there is flexibility with what needs to get done and how to do the work. Any change to accommodate the deficient software should keep business needs top of mind. Be cognizant of introducing a seemingly supplementary tool to make things more complex than necessary.

By simplifying how you do the work, you end up doing less and hence, reduce the demands on the deficient application. The application doesn’t become better, but you make it more malleable.

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