Off Topic: Complexity Awareness in the Wild

From time to time I need a little rant for coming to terms with the daily madness in the  business analysis profession:

Once upon a time, there was a company that had many many employees, each equipped with a telephone. But, the employees complained: ‘it’s so hard to find out or remember another person’s phone number’.  So, the quality management department (QM) thought about this hard and finally came up with a revolutionary idea: ‘we take a big book and collect all phone numbers together with the person owning in it’. The budget was granted, the project was completed and every employee got a copy of the new book.

However, a business analyst (BA) asked back ‘why haven’t you sorted the entries, for example by surname?’ QM: ‘We have a great book with all numbers in it, so where’s the problem?’ BA: ‘explainexplainexplain…’ QM:’Well, sounds like a nice usability improvement, we put it on the list and probably address it as soon as we get additional funding.’ (i.e. postponed to never ever)

Sometime later the company expanded sharply. Suddenly the number of employees had doubled, and so did the time people needed to find a number in the phone book. So the following solutions were considered:

a)      Sort the phone book entries by surname

b)      Roll out a new technical device that does the looking up for them

c)       Define the looking-up process precisely, using the latest modeling notation

d)      Sort the phone book entries by numbers

Option a) Was favored by the BA, b) by IT, c) by QM, so they implemented d) as a compromise. However, finally, they saw this ‘sorting thing’ was no improvement, but quite expensive, therefore fired the BA and lived free of any complexity awareness ever after.

Any resemblance with companies living or dead …
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About modelpractice

Modeling Theory and Abstraction Awareness in strive for scientific rigour and relevance to information systems engineering.
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