A blog post by Eric McNulty reminds us of our simplicity over complexity core principle. In his post he addresses some of the reasons why simplicity is important.
Why aren’t more things simple and why does complexity keep crashing in?
As Abraham Lincoln said, “I’m sorry I wrote such a long letter. I did not have the time to write a short one.” Mark Twain is also quoted as saying, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Simplicity is hard. Simplicity requires knowing what is important and what is not. To overcompensate for not knowing organizations and people try to do everything and be everything.
So, if complex is easier, and simple is harder – why do I want to simplify?
- It is hard to get the results you want on a reliable and repeatable basis using complex processes and products.
- Complex processes and products have more failure points and break down more often than simple ones.
- When complex processes and products break down it is difficult to find the root cause of the error and fix it.
- It is very hard to learn complex processes and products and become efficient using them.
- Complex processes and products are difficult to modify or extend to support changing needs.
Each of these items has a direct impact on the customer’s expectations and the customer experience.
Two key approaches to remove complexity are:
- Design all processes and products with the focus on the customer. Understand the needs of the customer and meet those needs as simply as possible.
- Only add tasks, features, and functionality to your process and products that are absolutely required. Remove any that are no longer required. Leaving unnecessary bloat in your processes and products is a big cause of complexity.
- Harvard Business Publishing Webcast – Take Complexity Out of Your Company, with Ron Ashkenas, author or Simply Effective.