By Rob Kraft
Businesses often turn to software and computers to solve problems and gain a competitive edge. When this occurs, both the business analysts and the IT staff have a solution in mind that requires computing technology and software. Sometimes though, non-technical solutions solve problems better and with far less expense. One current classic example is the use of a white board to track the project of work being done during a software development iteration. That white board does not need to be electronic, so don’t spend weeks or months creating the white board software especially when all interested parties are located in the same office or room.
Keep in mind these three principles:
- Can we try out the new process or idea manually, with minimal investment, without spending the time to develop the idea using software. If we feel the process still requires automation after a few months, can we at least learn some of the requirements from performing the process manually in the first few months.
- Is the cost of developing the software the best use of our scarce resources? If purchasing a software solution, is the cost of the purchase worth the investment? Many companies spend a lot of resources developing software that is not part of their core business. Doing so is depriving your business of the resources it could be using to better the products that really drive the business.
- Just because your software developers are busy does not mean you are making progress. I once learned of a doctor who traveled an hour between two hospitals. He saw four patients a day because he spent four hours traveling back and forth. The doctor was constantly busy, but the doctor was not near as productive as he could have been. Once the doctor changed the schedule of the patients to meet all the patients at one hospital in the morning, and all the patients at the other hospital in the afternoon, the doctor was able to see twice as many patients each day.
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