The Unsolved Efficiency Equation

July 17, 2015 by

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker

It’s a fair bet that two seconds ago in a conference room somewhere, somebody asked “How much are we going to save?” in a meeting regarding a technology project. Variants of this question, and attempts at answers, have been asked since the invention of the wheel.

The movie “Desk Set,” from 1957, a romantic comedy starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, is a timeless example of the hope, fear, tension, and opportunity that embody technology implementations. A computer called EMERAC, called a ‘scientific brain’ in the movie, is brought in to a television company to handle research inquiries. The research department panics because they fear EMERAC will take all their jobs (change management!). EMERAC has a melt down at one point, producing pink slips for everyone in the company (buggy software!). In the end, EMERAC enables the department to do more, and everybody’s happy.

Hollywood endings, whether happy or sad, are designed by the creators of the movies. Technology project endings need to be designed also. So if you want efficiency, design for it.

“Start as you mean to go on.” My grandmother



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