The Straight Line

When you are laying out your project plan, start by mapping out the straightest line to success. What steps need to be taken, and requirements need to be fulfilled to have the easiest and success? If you knew that everyone would do exactly what you expected them to, what would your project plan look like? What would the design of the software implementation look like?

Too often, we start by mapping out all of the exceptions and possibilities. We design our systems for all possibilities, but we forget to design the perfect path into the system. This means that even if we do complete the system, the success path becomes convoluted because you started with the expectation that the user would choose the wrong path.

Start your project by expecting the best of your users. Design the solution for those people who will follow the straight line to success. They are using the software because they need to solve a problem. Assume that they will take the right path.

You need to plan for all of the possibilities. Don’t ignore the fact that your users will go all over the place. But don’t start by planning for the exceptions – set the expectation that your users will follow the straight line.