Developing Systems to Improve Business
I’ve held professional positions in IT for eleven years; if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, solutions to problems often seem more complicated than they need to be. There’s a simple process model that exists and – once understood – there are merely systems behind each type of process that you are handling. Once the process is used a few times, the best way to maintain consistency and efficiency is to make a system for that process.
The Process Model
Here it is: Input -> Process -> Output.
Obviously, things get more complex than this, but the simplicity of work completed is much less daunting when you consider a new project as a simple input-output process. By identifying the output (project/process goals), you can identify what you need to get started (input) and what it is you need to do with those inputs to process the output.
Improving Processes with Systems
If you talk to people who know me, they’ll confirm that when I do or see something for the first time, I’m quietly observant and subtly disengaged from conversation. By the time I’ve done something a couple of times, I will have started developing ways to do something the most efficient way I can complete that task. It hit me the other morning as I was leaving the house that I have habitual methods of getting along my way. Clothes are always ready the night before, I have a certain order to brushing my teeth, shaving, getting dressed, preparing my lunch a certain way, preparing for lessons on days I teach, eating my dinner in a specific order so that the salty stuff is eaten first or fries are eaten last (since I like them the least and don’t care if I finish them) and the sweet stuff is eaten last. I don’t think I have an disorders, but I have a system for everything…and have a reason for why I do each thing.
It occurred to me this week that, while I make systems for most things I do with life and work, I constantly avoid making my web development processes more efficient. I’ve always perceived this as my creative outlet and have avoided approaching it as a process. The more I do it (and the more projects that come my way), the more I’ve realized that I need to streamline the processes surrounding the creative process – email templates, contracts, code snippets, etc.
I’ve started compiling a list 0f items I need to take care of in my freelance work; those that need have a system to handle it. Things like working on more consistently developing content for blogging, best approaches for estimating projects, identifying a system to handle invoices and time-tracking towards projects. I’m going to try and document progress as I go along, but I’d like to hear suggestions from others. Drop a suggestions in the comments.