CSI Recast

Nathan Wallace blogs infrequently, but every time he does, he makes a wave. His February 21 post could serve as a manifesto for any technology initiative but especially so for KM platforms such as intranets, content management systems, social software agglomerations. At its heart is the mantra, Clarify, Simplify, Implement:

“Clarify: Work with key stakeholders to understand drivers behind the process. Question motives and key assumptions. Turn over all the rocks to see what lies underneath. (In traditional software terms, this is requirements gathering.)

Simplify: Relentlessly question, review and challenge the processes and solution being developed. Drive for consistency. Search for well-known models or applications you can copy. Don’t be afraid to change basic assumptions, where simplicity can be enhanced. Always challenge the value of edge cases and try to eradicate them. Work hard to remove every single process, click, page view, icon, etc until you have something so simple that it feels right to everyone involved. (This is the primary value adding activity for IT.)

Implement: After the requirements are clear, and the solution distilled to its simplest form, start implementing. Do not start with a preconceived solution. Continue to loop through clarify and simplify while performing the implementation. (Use your preferred development methodology, provided it supports constant change and rapid prototyping.)”

He’s got some other great guiding principles to go along with the mantra:

Tough love adds value (on the importance of honesty and trust)
Brutal refinement (on doing the hard slog of making sure the detail works)
Zero training (if you have to train the users, you’ve failed)
Stay simple (on not losing your discipline after initial success)

It’s a hard tack to carry through, it’s aggressive and it’s beautiful.


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