In the latest issue of Res Extensa, I dove into “Gall’s Law”, which says:
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.
Too often I see a team propose a solution to a problem that involves making what we’ve got more complicated. Adding more people, more processes, more tools. “Maybe if we start using Salesforce it’ll get better.” “Perhaps if we bring in Consultant X they’ll help us through.”
Muddling through is part of the process of building. Don’t get upset about it, just get back to first principles and simplify:
Like most great mental models, Gall’s Law follows its own logic and keeps it simple. It’s a basic principle that helps filter your approach and ask yourself the question when faced with a complex problem: Is my approach simple enough? Does what we’ve already pieced together work before we add more parts, people, or processes?