I’ve been listening to Seth Godin’s book Small is the New Big on the way to work for the last several mornings. The book is a compilation of some of his best blog posts, and there are some real gems! This morning I listened to a real short but totally useful post that can be applied when analyzing processes (or products or whatever). He says:
Figure what the always is. Then do something else.
In other words, identify your assumptions and suspend them. When analyzing processes, this is real important. It seems as though every interview, workshop, or discussion I have with a stakeholder includes mention of at least one thing that someone (or some system) always does. Sometimes these “always” items end up being vestiges of business rules or system limitation that no longer has relevance or value to the company. If they do not add value, get rid of them.
I’ve thought of a couple of ways to put this idea into action:
- In future workshops, I’m going to designate one part of the whiteboard (or flip-chart) as the “Always Space” . Anytime someone uses the word “always,” I’m going to write it down in plain sight. I’ll dedicate some time toward the end of the workshop to revisit the “Always Space” to challenge participants to completely delete these “always” from the process. We may not always end up with feasible solutions from the exercise, but it will help participants to shift their perspective.
- When interviewing stakeholders, I’m going to keep my own “Always Space” in the margins of my notes. I’ll revisit them later on my own.
Thanks for the idea, Seth. I’m excited to give this a try…
If you want to read Seth’s original post it’s here.