How hard is it to make things simple?

Mankind is an outrageous species. We are inventive, innovative and we are able to manage things. Somehow we are also good in making things complicated. It seems that as we are better and better in solving all kinds of problems, we are also making new one which are more and more complicated. Let’s mention industrial automation, public transportation systems (people from Prague know Open Card), bureaucracy (people anywhere know queues…) and last but not least important questions such as: “Who is god?”, “Who am I?” and “What am I gonna cook tonight?”.

It is no wonder, that this effect is translated into everything we do. From social interactions to the way we solve things at work. I’ve just experienced this happening in our company. Last few years we had quite big problems with preparations of our catalogue of exhibitors. We are doing this catalogue every year and it requires collection of data from each exhibitor we got, administrational processing and publishing. Because we have printed and online version, we also had to input data to the two separated systems. One person had to spent time equal to 5 months of half-time job in order to prepare and collect data. I am not mentioning time needed by graphical department and other organizational issues connected.

So we came up with The idea. Let’s make this system easier. Let’s collect all the data into the universal database and use it for both systems. Sounds easy, but it took almost one year from the idea to implementation. I’ve spent hours and hours by testing and reporting mistakes. Such a simple idea which should make our system well… simple, took so much affords. At the end I got to admit that the system is functional and working. It also seems that we successfully made it simpler than it was before, but I am asking myself. Wouldn’t be the best idea to just outsource this catalogue stupidity? What do you think?

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