Making Life Easier – My Philosophy

If I have made someone’s life easier by implementing a system that reduces the time they need to spend on a task and freeing up their time to do other things, the things they really want to do, then I have achieved my goal.

I haven’t yet met the person who loves filling out forms and doing paperwork. I’ve been lucky in my working life that the projects I’ve worked on have all been driven to help people spend less time doing the form filling and more time doing constructive work.

My first ever project was an order entry system for travelling sales people for a well known crystal Jewellery Company. The sales people filled out orders, got them signed and faxed them from home at night. My system gave them a hand held computer and a catalogue with barcodes. They scanned the product, entered the quantity ordered, printed the order, connected the computer to a modem and orders were sent. The pilot was performed by a salesman with a broken arm; he completed 4 times as many orders per day over the hand written system.

Another system was for White Goods service engineers. The system moved all the work from paper based to a handheld computer. The result, 1 more job could be visited per day and the engineers finished work when they connected their computer to the modem when they came in, not 2 hours later as was the case with the paperwork.

The WHY Question

I like simplicity and I normally find that if I ask people “why? they do something” they sometimes struggle to answer so I like to ask WHY?

  • What do you do?
  • How do you do it?
  • whY do you do it?

Now these questions normally relate to some form of data collection, not what they really do.
I worked on a project for a local National Health Service Primary Care Trust to discover the data needs for management reporting.

Question Data Answer Job Answer
What do you do? Write out lots of paperwork names, addresses, repetitive stuff and case notes I’m a physiotherapist I help people recover from injuries
How do you do it? I fill out pages of information put it in a folder and give it to clerical staff  I create a series of exercises for people to perform to get better
whY do you do it? Not sure or because management want it Because I want to help people lead a better life

So my objective was to recommend and help develop systems that simplified the Data needs so the medical staff do the job they loved.