When we compare the activities performed with and without the aid of a
reminder list, we see that the conclusion one draws depends on the point
of view being taken. To the outside observer (who takes the system
view), the same actions are intended to be performed with and without
the list, but (usually) they are carried out more accurately and
reliably with the list. To the individual user (who takes the personal
view), the list is not a memory or planning enhancer, it is a set of new
tasks to be performed, with the aspects of the list relevant to memory
and planning separated from the aspects of the list relevant to
performance. – Donald Norman, 2007 (Thanks Clark!)
Many of the process improvement activities I’ve seen recently have consisted of creating artifacts (checklists, tools, applications) where there are none. Formalizing “known” processes.
System view says that the development of an artifact to help aid memory and guide the performance of a task is an awesome thing! Consistency, repeatability, not missing steps. Tack on some governance in between to assist with prioritization and awareness and life will be perfect.
Personal view says that tacking on the use of this “thing” = slowdowns, unnecessary work, loss of freedom and obstacles to getting stuff done.
So much of what I do as an applications trainer consists of selling the system view of a new artifact (often a software application) to a person.
Much of the pushback I receive is based on the personal view.
Often, that personal view is absolutely right.
That new artifact WILL cause slowdowns, unnecessary work (because they have to feed the artifact), loss of freedom (because they have to wait for permission vs. just doing it) and obstacles to getting stuff done (time spent justifying WHY they are doing it – meanwhile, the person is being pounded on by others to just get it done).
Are you creating the artifact to make the process go faster?
Are you creating the artifact to ultimately reduce the workload – both individually and collectively?
Are you creating the artifact to prevent harm? (e.g. patient death, airplane crash, massive IT system failure)
Are you creating the artifact to track activity to prove that you are performing activity? (Look! I work really HARD!)
Are you creating the artifact in an attempt to “control”?
If you are creating the artifact to make the process go faster, reduce the workload and prevent harm – that is an easy sale. If you make it easy for me to see HOW the artifact will do that – even better.
However, if you are creating the artifact simply to increase tracking and control – for the sake of tracking and control…the chances of that artifact being adopted are very slim.
Often, this results in retraining (hooray job security), the development of “punishments for not using the artifact” and ultimately abandonment (wasted money, time and energy).
Why are you creating the artifact?