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Making the Complex Simple (and understandable)

Making the Complex Simple (and understandable)

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Making the Complex Simple (and understandable) 

What are the most dreaded words that ever come out from Information Technology teams?

‘The System’s Down’

Those words cut through this digital, cloud based, X-Box age like a shiver through the spine.

My background is IT, and do you know what? I still don’t know what people mean when they say this?

Last week in a Client Partner, I had a Déjà vu experience that took me back to when I was an IT Director at Allianz, many years ago – the two conversations though, spanning across over 25 years, were identical:

Me “What do you mean, the system’s down?”

IT guy “It means it’s not working” (He wanted to add “Duh!”)

Me “OK, which part of the system?”

IT (long pause) – “That’s what we are looking into now

Me “Great – can you show me?”

IT (longer pause) “You mean the wires and cables?”

Me “No, here and now, draw the system and show me where it has broken”

IT “Sorry David, it’s not that simple – our system is too complex to show it in that way”

Me “Oh, ok…hang on, if Harry Beck, 90 years ago, can draw the London Underground on a map small enough to fit in a diary…”

IT “Ah, ok”

And both times, within one week, we had a simple design of ‘The System’ – it didn’t fit in a diary, more an A3 size. And all credit to all IT teams out there that have done this.

Powerful, Visual and above all, Simple

What needs to be simplified in your organisation?


With my love and best wishes


Please add your comments below

8 Responses to Making the Complex Simple (and understandable)

  1. I find it difficult to see how anyone can work without having a diagram of the system. I work with Geospatial Data and we rely upon our diagrams of how the data flows through the system and also how data merges with other datasets to produce products. It would be impossible to manage effectively without these. The only way I could see that we could get away without them is if the system was so simple we could just remember it!

  2. There is too much red tape involved in most businesses. Meetings about meetings.
    So much could be simplified but managers have to justify their worth by cracking the whip.

  3. Yes, why does life have to be so compliacted sometimes? Or is it just people who make life so complicated?

  4. The system is done means nothing to those not technically minded.
    We ahev so many messages saying our system is experiencing problems and all it does is give a job to someone to send emails flying around!!

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