Schlagwort-Archive: Implementation

The Bridge – the ideal metaphor for transition

The main reason for a bridge is crossing a hard-to-manage gap, such as a river, a sea or a valley. In most cases, ways should be shortened, eased or simply made possible. The natural difficulties vary each time and need a different type or variant of bridge. The longest bridge with 36 km is the Hangzhou Wan Daqiao, which spans Hangzhou Bay on China’s east coast. The highest bridge is also located in China, the Beipanjiang Bridge in Guizhou, with a height of 565 m.
The chasms that are bridged in business are in no way inferior to the physical bridges. These business challenges are transitions from old to new, involving many employees and internal regulations. The bridge is an obvious metaphor for such transitions.

The following conditions support the safe crossing of the threatening abysses.

  • Clear requirements
    Clarity arises from the description of the specific requirements and, above all, the expectations of the deciding stakeholders. The easiest thing is to determine the physical data, such as length, width, height, or the load-bearing capacity – although sometimes the decisiveness is missing. Most important, however, are the decision makers’ hopes, which are difficult to grasp. These include the ideas of what should be done, what should be the outcome and what consequences they foresee. It is essential to know the requirements, since they ultimately set the bar for the accomplished transition.
  • Documented topography
    A bridge is determined by the start and the end point. The description of the circumstances will cover the whole area, but not always with the required details. This applies to transitions of all kinds. The initial situation describes the foundation, on which one side is based for the crossing. In the business environment, this is the old world with its problems – the hierarchical structure, the legacy IT, or outdated procedures. The destination describes the fixed base on the other side. In business this is the state with its intended advantages – agile forms of working, modern IT, end-to-end business operations.
  • Stable recipes
    The abyss to pass determines which bridge type is used – suspension bridge, cable-stayed bridge, arch bridge, plate bridge, etc. The bridge type is selected, depending on the requirements. Sometimes a cable car is sufficient for the crossing. However, if a large number of people and heavy vehicles have to pass the crossover, then a stable construction is required that brings everyone for a foreseeable future safely to the other side. The same applies to changes in companies when the staff has to adapt to the new business requirements. This cuts all employees to the quick, because they have to rethink and to act in a new way.
  • Decisive implementation
    The change from one side to the other is dangerous and risky. It only succeeds, if it is decisively pursued. It is not enough to wish for a bridge. You have to take the necessary steps. This requires sufficient financial and time resources as well as adequate staff. Such projects are reliable for a long time, if the implementation is not spared at the expense of quality and if the necessary accuracy is omitted. The failure of the project has serious consequences for the involved parties – at the first crossing or later, for example when the life is shortened drastically due to inferior material.
  • Built-in maintenance
    Nothing lasts forever. For this reason, measures must be installed from the outset, which come from the requirements – the expected load and the planned lifespan. Bridges have expansion joints, stretchable asphalt or vibration damping mechanisms. Regular transition monitoring is an additional measure to identify and counteract difficulties at an early stage. In business, this requires ongoing status checks of the transformation activities.

Bottom line: The transition from one side to the other of a chasm needs clear requirements, the documented topography, stable recipes, a decisive implementation and the appropriate maintenance. Ever new abysses require ever larger and higher bridges. However, you hear again and again of bridges that reach the end of their lifecycle prematurely, because the planned utilization exceeds by far the original estimates. In the transition from old to new, the decision makers have to face a similar situation. Above all, the upcoming digitization will take many companies to their limits. The bridge provides the ideal metaphor for these transitions from old to new.

The key – the ideal metaphor for a solution

A key without a lock is as useful as a lock without a key. In any case, these two objects serve to prevent entry of unauthorized persons. The key then becomes the symbol of the possibility to block or open access – whether the key belongs to somebody or not. Since only valuable things are locked away, the key is connected to get to a treasure. These can indeed be valuables, but also explanations, recipes or solutions.

The following features make the key the ideal metaphor for solutions.

  • Clear purpose
    The fact that a door or box is closed provides the indication that there is something valuable or interesting behind. The treasure that you get with the key is the real purpose. A solution also has a purpose. These can be economic objectives, improvements or a project.
  • Custom-fit design
    The simplest locks can be opened with the simplest keys. Since unauthorized persons gained access with the help of a picklock, the locks became increasingly complicated. For this reason, today different key types – pin tumbler lock, lever lock, tubular, or ceremonial keys. Solutions also work best when tailored to the target group and, above all, to the problem.
  • Precise implementation
    The understanding of the lock and its purpose is not enough to implement the mechanism. In order for the key to work, it must be precisely fine-grained. Only when all corners and edges correspond exactly to the lock, it opens. The same happens to a solution. For the desired effects the results have to be worked out neatly. You have to answer the right questions that fit the mindset and language of the target group, as well as the intended purpose.
  • Everyday use
    If the implementation and the material of the key are correct, the key will last long in the everyday application. The same applies to comprehensive solutions that have described well all aspects such as the intended application, the operation and the results.
  • Defined procedure
    Even the procedure is similar. To create a key, you first need a pattern, in the case of a solution it is the concrete situation that it is all about. Then one examines the whole and finds solutions, from which one chooses the most probable. Now the implementation is planned and installed. The key is now ready to work out the cuts and edges. In the solution the corresponding components – a business process, data model or responsibility matrix. What remain are then only the guidebook and the use of the new key.

Bottom line: The key opens doors and boxes, thus allowing access to certain results that lie behind the locks. The solution has the same function. Its purpose is to achieve certain results. This similarity makes the key to an ideal metaphor for a solution.