What Comes First? The Chicken or the…..

“The hurrier I do…the behinder I get!”  Okay, I understand this quote may not strike you as intellectually deep, but with the information technology overload of today, I think we might find this quote provides some valuable insights for us. You see we have consistently been led to believe that the implementation of new technologies would aid us in being more efficient and productive in whatever we were about doing. It didn’t really matter what that doing was about, technology and especially information technology, was going to ensure we accomplished whatever we were doing quicker, better, faster while simultaneously accomplishing it cheaper and easier!

Somewhere though, we allowed the entire equation to get out of balance, mainly by throwing technology solutions at problems instead of solving problems with application of new technologies. For example, how about the simple use of electronic mail. From the early days of this technology, the tool was used mainly for communications, but quickly became a repository for all communications past and present requiring hours of management and organization time to simply catalog and retrieve predominantly useless emails. Worried about finding something we kept everything instead of deleting emails that required no further reference or attention clogging up disk drives with archives and email stores with always expanding disk requirements. Before long, we had created for ourselves additional work just managing the storage of all that email! The more email we got, the further behind we got! Then we added a calendar, a task list, and contacts! Again, the more we communicated the further behind we found ourselves.

Of course hindsight is 20/20 they say and I understand that as these technologies started we didn’t really have the tools available then to operate paperless systems like we do today but we could have done some things differently! Instead, we just kept grabbing the technology without stopping and truly applying how we could have best used it to solve our work problems. If we had simply reminded ourselves that at the end of the day we always emptied our regular mailbox at home, did something with that content, and then applied that same approach to our electronic email systems at work, we could have saved ourselves countless hours of wasted time!

So to avoid continuing this approach we should consider carefully our processes before we throw technology at it and instead determine the best process to accomplish our objective then apply technology to that process that will most efficiently achieve the desired results. This of course means developing and documenting processes before we decide on the technologies to use!  So What Comes First? The Process or the New Technology?


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