Fatal Mistake Managers Make: Trying to Design the Perfect System

The Perfect System

The business world is built on the premise of continually adding value. We want to maximize what can be accomplished for the time and resources expended. This reminds me of a story I occasionally share about my idea for the design of the perfect software system.

Design of the perfect system

Designing the Perfect System

This system is designed as the ultimate in functionality, while at the same time sporting a minimalist user interface. Imagine a system that has one button that you click to start off your day. As soon as you click it, it starts working in the background to retrieve emails, texts, voicemails and the like. It uses advanced technology to read each email message and then reply with an intelligent response based on the contents of the email matched to predefined rules setup to predict what my response would have been if I had actually read the email.

It does the same type of automated responses to my texts and voicemails. It would even automatically schedule appointments for me, update my calendar, and draft agendas for upcoming meetings, based on the research it compiles. In addition, it pulls data from multiple electronic data feeds and analyzing marketing efforts, sales statistics, customer satisfaction scores, and makes adjustments based on best practices to ensure all metrics meet or exceed establish standards. In fact, the features above are just the beginning of a long list of time-saving functionality. The beauty of this perfect system really shows with its easy-to-use interface. It starts with the single button you press when you get to work. After the button is clicked you are free to kick back and put your feet on the desk, surf the web, or walk the halls looking for fires to put out. When the system has completed all its amazing automated tasks for day, it pops up a message to let you know a year’s worth tasks have been completed, and it’s time for you to go home.

Easy Button

Just click and go…

How Easy Can It Be

The first company that implements my design will quickly become a household name. In fact, “Staples” is the company that has come the closest to implementing my perfectly designed system with its “Easy Button”.

The problem is, it doesn’t seem let you know when it has finished all the tough tasks for the day. If fact, maybe it doesn’t do anything at all after you click it! Oh well, maybe their 2.0 version will fix that.

In the real world, the more functions you try to automate, the higher the risk you don’t get an workable solution implemented at all. In fact, you often end up in a worse situation than the status quo, because you are now wasting time with a lengthy endeavor to do something beyond the scope of feasibility based on your resources and staff at hand. The fatal trap of more is better is easy to fall into, and hard to get out of. It is much wiser to look for a flexible solution that lets you adjust on the fly, as compared to an overly automated system with a long list of never-to-be-used bells and whistles.


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