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KISSing for Better Solutions

As defined on Wikipedia, “KISS is an acronym for ‘Keep It Simple, Silly’ and states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.”

One of the many situations we typically encounter as consultants when first engaging with clients is a failed project because they tried to make it do everything.  A project that “does everything” often does nothing really well and because of that, users never really adopt it and Salesforce becomes “ugh…Salesforce.”

I’ve written numerous times before both here and on my personal blog about the power of the Salesforce platform – specifically how that power is a double-edged sword.

Just because you CAN do something doesn’t necessitate that you SHOULD do something.

This is the trap that good consultants help you dig out of and avoid in the future.

One of my favorite activities to do with clients is to IDEATE.  More often than not when you see me “in the wild”, I will never be far from a whiteboard with marker dust on my fingers.  Ideation sessions can be some of the most fun meetings your organization will hold, but they can quickly get out of hand if you don’t “Keep it simple, silly!”.

When you are planning a solution, there are two phases:  Ideating and Solutioning.

Ideating is the process of breaking down walls and getting people to honestly open up about what really are the goals, what are the real problems, and what is really bothering them.  A true ideation session is actually quite cathartic; so many times the best solutions are blocked by politics, emotions, and fear of opening up in front of “the boss”.

Solutioning is the process of taking the outcome of ideation and putting a plan of action in place.  I’ll dive deeper into solutioning in my next blog post.

The general rules of thumb I keep in mind when ideating are:

  1. Listen to think – don’t listen to respond
  2. There are no rules, no bad ideas, and no prejudices
  3. Everyone in the room will participate – no one can be a “fly on the wall”
  4. Representatives from across the organization (vertical AND horizontal) are mandatory
  5. Keep it fun – fun, comfort, and even some silliness yield great ideas

All of this is great and fun right?  Absolutely!  However – as the leader of an ideation session, you need to have a few limiters in place or you run the risk of going down rabbit holes.

As an ideation leader, you must:

  • Keep the train generally on the tracks – don’t be afraid to call out a rabbit hole
  • Make people explain their ideas, acronyms, and prejudices
  • Actively engage the “quiet ones”
  • Actively regulate the “loud ones” – don’t let the few dominate the group
  • Take frequent pictures of the whiteboard, don’t be afraid to erase
  • Don’t be afraid to “take the bullet” yourself so others don’t have to

Are you interested in what a real ideation session could mean for your business?  Scroll down to the bottom of the article here and contact us!

Written by Andy Boettcher, Salesforce Architect and MVP

Andy has twenty years of systems, networking, software development, and business support under his belt, with a current focus on cloud platform services/enablement. At Demand Chain Systems, Andy works as a technical leader and platform evangelist of the company. He works with prospects, customers, and employees alike to discover how to best leverage Salesforce.com personally and professionally.

For more information on aligning Salesforce with business goals visit our Roadmap Alignment page.

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