As a product/project manager, I pride myself on striving for simplicity. Someone asked me just last week: “What’s simplicity to you?” and I found the best way to answer was to give some examples.
Simplicity from day to day life – the ‘old’ light switch
You flip it up, light turns on, you flip it down, light turns off. That’s simple. You don’t need to know anything about electricity at all; it just works. There are many other great examples in our day to day lives such as the TV or the telephone. Most people don’t know the ins-and-outs of how they work but most use them quite easily everyday.
A tech example of simplicity: setting up email on my Blackberry
I opened a Gmail account (very simple), purchased a Blackberry and I only needed to tell my BB what my user name and password was for my Gmail. And voilà! I get all my emails on my BB. I don’t need to know anything about email relay, email servers, etc etc. It just works.
Simplicity in a process – Kobo e-book ordering
Once I set up an account, buying a new book was just 3 clicks away: select the book, click ‘buy now’ and confirm by clicking ‘buy now’ again. I could immediately download the book and begin reading.
Processes are needed from time to time to get things done in a reliable fashion on a repeatable basis. A process is good when it makes our lives easier. As a product/project manager, whenever possible, I create processes that use the least amount of steps and that can be automated.
That’s simplicity to me. What’s simplicity to you?