Simplicity vs. Functionality

math-symbolsWhat I am about to say may sound very elementary at first; however, it warrants careful thought. It is often very difficult for those looking at Project Management solutions to decide what type of system they should look at and subsequently move to.

The fact that a system is being looked at in the first place is usually a result of trying (and failing) to solve problems that currently exist and are causing headaches. At first glance, it is usually easier to go with the simplest system that appears to fix the problems and deals with the limited issues “where it hurts the most”. The choice may also involve the general misconception that everyone can learn a simple system quicker and that it will quickly solve a few of the current problems (but only a few of them). Comparatively, in the medical world, this means to “treat the symptoms but not find the cure.”

For some this will even work well for a while; however, it almost always means that there is a sacrifice. That sacrifice is functionality and lack of finding “a cure.” The more a company needs out of a solution, the more robust a system needs to be.

With that said the best way to determine what is going to work best for you is to have a well-defined needs analysis that is properly prioritized. Almost every problem is caused by multiple factors and those must be identified first. Every solution is a give and take and, in many cases, will cause one to walk a fine line between simplicity and functionality.

But consider that in most cases, simplicity is like basic addition and subtraction (it works!) but that eventually you will need to multiply and divide to make your life easier and accomplish the more complex tasks at hand. It is generally difficult for most simplistic solution providers to change their system just to give you what you eventually need. In other words, “if it is not already in the system” you probably won’t get it anytime soon.

Discovering the function needed can be a difficult task in and of itself during the evaluation process. The more robust systems allow you to change, customize and configure your system as you go, helping to avoid this problem.  Yes, higher upfront costs and a longer implementation time put some people off.  In the end, though, you get the functionality you need and, in many cases, fewer disruptions to your company and workflow from robust systems than from simpler but limited “easy road” solutions.  In the long term, the more robust system should even save you money, even if it was more expensive to begin with.  And saving money is a reason for exploring new systems in the first place, right? In most cases, the best choice will be a system–such as the Spitfire Project Management System–that allows you to start out using the “KISS” principal but allows you to progress easily to the more robust choice.

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