Friday, April 17, 2015

Creeping Complexity

Complexity can easily creep in through even seemingly insignificant decisions.

For example, naming the computer servers in your organization.

I've been in one company where they named one set of servers after U.S. presidents, and another set after animals.  On the other hand, another company named them things like chidirsdap05 and chihdirdap05.

In the case of this second company, many hours were lost over time with people trying to communicate server names in meetings and conference calls.  Risk and errors increased because people typed in the wrong names and worked on the wrong servers.

In the first company, there was never any misunderstanding if you were told to log into "Reagan" or "giraffe."

I've also seen this in other examples.

For example, in an organization, one software payments application assigned sequential numbers to transactions.  So, for example, "10,301" followed by "10,302", etc.

Another application assigned Oracle auto-generated IDs such as "B65AZX456RD45WRFT" and the next one would be "B65AZX457LD45WRFT" - the difference is a couple of positions in the middle of the string.

When it came to help desk support and tracking payments for customers, which one do you think created extra complications and headaches?