What First, How Second

Buying or subscribing to a software application is never the solution to a problem. But it can certainly be part of the solution... or not.

It's all about the process. An app can help streamline a process. Likewise, it can overcomplicate a process. It's all in the way you use it.

Finding the right app or apps is important but mapping out the desired process flow should always come first. It's only after we've designed our process - and know our desired result - that we look for "an app for that".

When mapping out your processes, start with the way the process currently flows. Draw it on paper or list it as steps in a text file. Then, suspend reality temporarily and map out what the most efficient workflow looks like. Describe the steps that you want to happen - the "what". Yes, you'll need to consider the "how" but don't limit yourself at this point.

It's easy for me the recommend this approach; I've seen it work many times. I once had the job of mapping out over 50 process flows as part of an SAP implementation and then working to adapt them to the new system. I have to confess - I'm all about the "how". In fact, I'm a bit geeky about it. The "how" is where the magic happens but only when we know the "what" first.

With all the apps at our fingertips, it's easy to get distracted by a promised solution. (I admit, I'm an AppSumo fan.) Understanding requirements helps to filter the options.


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