Can you deliver it?

April 22, 2010

– According to your specifications? Absolutely!
– The way you need it? That question should not be directed to me.

The first question is usually irrelevant. I could probably build you the Great Wall of China given the time and resources, but if your reason for building the wall is to keep your budgie in place, then I can’t help you until you’re willing to cooperate around the specifications.

The second question is one that you mainly need to ask yourself. Are you willing to jump into the unknown? Are you prepared to express your innermost needs? Do you really know what problem it is that you want to dissolve and are you prepared to handle the consequences of dissolving it? Unless your answer to these questions is Yes, then I won’t be able to help you with what you need.

To dissolve a problem, you first need to acknowledge the root cause of your problem. This often means confessing to have implemented a less than optimal solution before, a confession that hurts. You were wrong the first time around when you tried to guess a solution so we can pretty much assume that you’ll be at least a little bit off this time as well. This means that we’ll have to explore new ways. To try new and uncomfortable solutions that haven’t yet crossed your mind. Are you willing to do that?

Dissolving one problem will usually put the spotlight on another one. If you can guess where your new itch arises, are you prepared to show it to the world?

So you want a software tool for your employees to punch data into. Sure, I can build that.

But don’t build a software that’s supposed to support your employees if your true reason for building it is to control your employees. Build a software that controls your employees instead.

But whatever you do, don’t build a software to control your employees if your true reason is to get quality and predictability in your business. Build a system in which your employees can deliver with quality and predictability instead. (BTW, I’m pretty sure that this system has nothing to do with software at all.)

So if we design a system in which your employees can deliver with quality and predictability, where do you think the spotlight will land next? Are you prepared to stand in the limelight for the next improvement effort? Yes? Well, in that case I just might be able to help you with what you actually need.

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