Monday, March 29, 2010

Balance Balance Balance

At a recent chapter meeting with IT and Quality professionals, the topic of documentation came up. To my surprise a lot of folks were against documentation: not in principle but in the extreme application of it. But why did they assume that documentation equates to extremely detailed and intensive documentation? A somewhat “light” version of documentation could be implemented which would cover important issues without involving too much expense and effort. A medium level documentation effort might very well be the right one for a specific situation. Why assume a super detailed documentation effort right from the onset and crucify it immediately? This tendency to be either at one extreme (little to no documentation) or the other extreme (super detailed documentation) is a damaging and ultimately self-debilitating style of thinking. This same extreme to extreme thinking occurs when process implementation (or improvement) or any other beneficial initiative is brought up and then creates a significant roadblock in the implementation of the effort.

In reality, any level of documentation or process implementation or Six Sigma effort can be performed. It does not have to be an ultra grand trillion dollar effort. A proper analysis of what best serves the organizational needs must first be performed. With the result of this analysis, a proper, well thought out approach should be planned and implemented. It is usually best to start with a pilot version of the effort as opposed to implementing it all across the organization in one go. A phased approach is also beneficial in that any issues with the effort can be corrected and reworked smoothly and incremental low risk implementations are made. I do not wish to go into the details of an implementation but rather emphasize the benefits of a balanced approach and the needless harm and problems induced by an unbalanced (extreme to extreme) thinking approach.

To be perfectly honest, each moment of each day calls for analysis and a balanced response. I can’t slam on the accelerator of my car too hard or I’ll hit the car ahead of me. If I don’t hit the accelerator hard enough, the car behind me will be frustrated. I must analyze the traffic conditions at each moment and make the correct response. Whether it is driving my car, shopping for groceries of implementing six sigma improvements, each unique situation calls for a unique response. As IT professionals, it is especially necessary for us to keep this balanced approach in mind due to the enormous mix of variables in the workings of IT. Even the effort at achieving balance will bring about major positive results and harmony. And the IT work environment could use all the harmony it can get.

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