There are a mountain of applications that can automate, store and catalog almost anything that are available over the web with a simple signup. As technologists we are hard pressed not to use them, as they provide immediate value and give us the ability to quickly work with our information from anywhere, in any format at anytime. Sounds pretty good, right? There is a fundamental danger with these tools though, that can greatly reduce our efficiency. How is this possible?
Anyone who has played a sport knows how challenging it can be to let go a bad habit. A golfer has a particular rhythm with which they hit the ball, a runner has a particular stride with which they run and a tennis player has a certain way they hit a ball. What do these scenarios have in common?
They are all developed over time and become second nature.
What does this have to do with E2.0?
When we have a problem with information we are able to immediately architect a solution / create a strategy to address the issue through collection, automation and management to enable the task at hand. After years of working with these technologies we are extremely comfortable and have the capability to with very little effort build great solutions.
We never take the time to step back, especially with our most familiar processes. Just as the golfer, runner and tennis players have developed their strokes over the years we have developed ours with our most familiar processes and we implicitly view these processes as a given. There is danger in this, as our business world evolves, along with our processes. When a solution is needed for a very familiar process we are quick to construct a technical solution to deal with the issue, without ever stepping back and asking if the process itself is in need of adjustment.
This week I experienced this issue myself - working hard on a large number of projects I was focused deeply on each task, not stepping back to look at the collection of tasks and efficiencies that could be gained from a broader picture. I thought "how do I better track these tasks, I am overwhelmed" - then it struck me. I realized that my task-by-task approach was leading me down a path of exhaustion and automating it, could potentially make it even worse.
Stepping Back and Rethinking
By stepping back, brainstorming about how work streams could be combined, I was able to then get a better look at the benefits of automation and cataloging for them. The benefits were very real and amounted to more sleep and customers who were able to get higher quality work.
Imagine what gains your organization could have by asking basic questions and reviewing your familiar processes before setting up even the most fundamental E2.0 technologies to support them!