The Work-Around Trap
Workarounds might keep you working but they can be traps, as well.
One trap is that we create a workaround and we never find a permanent solution to whatever it was that we just patched-up as a temporary fix.
The other problem is that we sometimes think we’ve provided a solution but only really provided a workaround.
Even people like me fall into this trap. I have been writing some C# programs for marketing automation. It’s not that I’ve actually automated my marketing with them just made the process somewhat less manual. In this, I’ve created some workarounds and I increasingly create more of them.
I have realized that now is the time to “stop the madness” and create a permanent solution. For me, when I needed new features in my C# programs, it’s as easy as deciding I need a new feature in my programs and adding it. I don’t even have to go through an approval process. But I’m now at a point where I do that too often – I realize that I need “real” marketing automation.
Sometimes, when customers ask for new programs, they become too comfortable with the process of getting the budget and asking for the programs. Once the program goes to someone to work on, it is kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” situation where the customer might not realize that what they really need isn’t more programs in their current system but possibly some add-on that would do a better job at the task.
How Do You Know?
So, how do you know when you’re really just doing workarounds rather than solutions? There’s a fine line to this. One guideline is that, if you’re asking for programs too often, or too many changes or additions to your system, it might be time to consider buying an add-on (or completely different system) as a more economical and better way to address what you need. Notice I used some words in my advice that are still subjective. What does it mean that it’s “too often,” for example? Once, again, I’ll say this is tricky. You have to keep track of how much work you’re asking for and, as a team, evaluate whether it might be getting out of hand.