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A Tool is Worthless Without a Craftsman

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Far too often, I’ve started a new role and immediately been thrust into a significant technology migration. The litany of reasons for such a major endeavour is long and often transposable from one organization to another. 

More often than not, the justification is encapsulated in a broad generalization like “we’ve outgrown the platform” or “it’s such a mess we should just start over.” 

In many cases, those statements are factual. However, the underlying reason that change is afoot has more to do with the lack of expertise of the operators and poor or misunderstood processes.

Different class solutions are available on the market, and just like with consumer buying behaviour, there is a bias towards “best in class” solutions. 

But just like the first-time snowboarder who goes out and kits themselves with the best board, boats, and bindings when they can barely get down a hill, it’s likely that there is a meaningful distinction to be made between “best in class” and “best of your class.”

This distinction isn’t meant to be disparaging but rather a meaningful filter when making significant financial decisions around tooling. 

A series of questions (and potentially remedial actions) should be taken before investing in new tech that includes but are not limited to:

  1. Have we developed, articulated, and successfully implemented the processes underpinning the tech?
  2. Have we been realistic about the objectives for the platform relative to the feature set?
  3. Do we have the people, or are we prepared to invest in the people required to use the tool to its full potential?

Suppose the above questions haven’t been answered honestly. In that case, the new tech is likely a band-aid solution to much bigger problems, and although it may provide momentary relief, the underlying issues will persist.  

We can all certainly appreciate the engineering marvel that is a Ferrari or Lamborghini. It’s doubtful that we would put either of those cars in the hands of a novice driver. In fact, most drivers would be hard-pressed to realize the full potential of these beasts.

To extend the metaphor, regardless of skill, understanding where and how (process) to get the most out of the car is step one. Step two is defining what “most” means (objectives).

These first two steps are crucial to understanding if the Lambo is the way to go or if a GoKart would suffice!