Mar 16, 2006

What's worth the effort?

A revelation has downed on me the other day during one of the endless meetings:

It does not matter how elegant or smart a solution is (or can be). What matters is how timely it is and how well it addresses (especially a long-standing) immediate need.

Case in point -- procurement process (or rather lack thereof). Up to recently we've had an almost total paper kingdom. The only automated part was to fetch a quote from procurement service and fill it into a request -- after that you're on your own getting the quadrillion signatures and praying that scrap of paper does not get lost.

Nobody really wants to spend the money -- at least not until the next very important purchase request is lost. So, you get a poor man's version of a proper workflow tool: you put your standard purchasing items into a bunch of protected Excel sheets (with price quotes and some basic formulas) and you get your purchasing clerks to send out a simple Outlook message with voting buttons in place of a physical signature.

Can't say it is elegant, definitely not very inventive. Possibly smart -- definitely timely and serves immediate need. Bingo -- you get all the brownie points you want!

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