Productivity Paradox

Systems designed with the specific objective of increasing productivity often have the opposite effect.

Almost everyone has a story about a “new system” handed down from management that promises to save time, increase revenue and provide more services, but actually caused more problems than it solved. The headlines are full of bureaucratic foul-ups in both government and the private sector, and these are only the tales that make it into the hands of journalists. Newfangled, over-arching “solutions” are the natural disasters of the corporate world: unpredictable, unavoidable and destructive. Famous examples covered on The Methodology Blog include:

  • Less than Due Process - Police in Queensland, Australia, are releasing some criminals on bail rather than holding them in custody. The new computer records system is so slow and convoluted, officers are even reluctant to make arrests for fear of having to use the application.
  • Reply-All for Gridlock - State Department employees have been warned not to use the “reply-all” feature on their email programs, as a recent message storm nearly took down a major internal communication systems. According to the Associated Press, an accidental press of the shift key will invoke unspecified “disciplinary actions.”
  • Unsolved Due to Workflow Error - The British government maintains an ambitious registry of over four million DNA samples used in crime fighting. However, some major data entry problems have left nearly 200 crimes undetected.

Slaughter Development believes in a wholly different model for change. Instead of top-down edicts, productive innovations should come from stakeholders. Instead of short, expensive engagements between client and consultant, Slaughter Development believes in long-term partnerships. Our eventual goal is to help you to improve productivity, but to escape the paradox, we must must begin by working with employees and customers to understand needs and draw out your existing knowledge. If you are ready for a new system that does not fail, contact Slaughter Development.

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