The chewing gum pitfall

Have you ever stepped on a big chunk of chewing gum and tried to continue walking? You may have found that it is actually pretty hard to move forward quickly and easily, and that you have to slow down and move your feet step by step. In fact, we have witnessed a similar phenomenon when working on projects with various customers.

When a company implements a new software system, the company’s processes and tools need to be continuously adjusted. When the choice for a new software tool is made, customers often want their business processes, as much as possible, to stay the same and also want the software system to be flexible enough to support future process changes.

This approach inevitably leads to a slower implementation for the following reasons:

  • During the implementation of a new software system, the tool needs to match the current process. The process is seen as a “given” and the software should just fit to this process. Therefore, many opportunities to really improve, refine and customize the tool will be lost.
  • Then, some time after the implementation, business process improvements will be considered. Now the software may slow down these improvements as the software does not really support the new process. Often this will lead to yet another search for a new software solution.
  • In the end, the customer will make many small and slow steps towards an optimal situation. Given that this end goal is a moving target in itself, chances are they will never reach and realize this end goal.

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