Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Love of Ad-Hoc

I was yet again exposed last week to an instance of an organization performing their tasks in an ad-hoc style. I see this seemingly in built preference to ad-hoc so often that it strikes me as remarkable. While there should be a consideration towards reduction of cost and efficiency and optimization, ad-hoc is not the path to effective cost cutting, efficiency or optimization. A lot of work is required for achieving these 3 characteristics and simply avoiding any effort at structuring the way things are performed is not beneficial in any way.

And yet, ad-hoc is so prevalent even today. From an ad-hoc style of gathering requirements to an ad hoc style of designing, developing and testing, the ad-hoc way seems quite ubiquitous. Why is this? I think that it really just boils down to laziness and inertia. Sure, there is some measure of ignorance and lack of awareness of the current best practices out there, but this, too, can be finally attributed to laziness. Perhaps the feeling of comfort that comes from leaving things alone is also a factor. “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” seems to be the mantra of safety. However, the problem with this is that your competition isn’t leaving well enough alone. The competition is marching forward and if you don’t you will be left in the dust.

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