Monday, February 18, 2008

Is disorganization and lack of planning effective?

I used to be pretty disorganized when working or doing a project. Then I discovered the many benefits of being organized. And then… there comes a project that made me question if being organized all the time really paid off.

The latest project I embarked in consisted of many items, all showing up at once, handling a massive amount of incoming information and then analyzing, organizing, deciding. This naturally led me to get ready to plan and implement databases and tools to keep track of everything.

But just when I was ready to do that, the person for whom I was doing the project implied that maybe my thoroughness wasn’t really necessary in this case, but rather intrusive and time consuming.

I was resistant, at first, after all, I know how to handle my own information, thank you very much! But then I decided to listen.

So I started questioning my own usual procedures:

- Is a database really necessary?
- How complete should it be?
- What fields should it have?
- Do I need to leave a record of every single item?
- What if I only left a record of the items that were going to go on?
- How can I make this effort more effective?
- What activities don’t have any added value?
- How can I do things more quickly, without sacrificing quality?
- Do I have to follow a predefined set of activities?

So instead of using a huge database with tons of information that I wasn’t immediately going to use, and that I could refer to later, I decided to do things simple.

A mixture of digital (database) and analog (notes and printed materials) mediums to keep track and be effective.

So I realized that I don’t always have to be ultra organized, that some projects don’t need to leave records of everything behind and that they can be done in less time, using less resources, if you’re just open to new ways of doing things and listening to what the customer actually wants and needs.

The moral of the story is, question your own procedures from time to time, you may find new and interesting ways of tackling your projects.

All the best!