Guy McClintock, Solution Architect Stream Lead, FINEOS
So this is it, it’s finally happened, after all the weeks and months of business cases and cost benefit studies you’ve got budget approval for that next big project. You’re tired, but exhilarated. You’re excited and feel the possibilities are endless. You can already see that new solution in your minds-eye and it is bursting at the seams with bells and whistles. But beware. Often in this situation less really is more.
As a solution architect with FINEOS, one of the things I see over and over again is an attempt to build the “perfect solution” first time around. This seems like a noble endeavor, but with experience comes a realization that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. In reality there is no such thing as the “perfect solution”. By the time you’ve carefully designed and developed each individual feature to come together into that overarching solution, it is likely that the reason for building some of those features has actually changed. This all assumes that you knew the reason you were building each feature in the first place!
Take, for example, the configuration of the Claims Management process. It is very tempting to analyze to the nth degree the level of automation and governance that is required. There are many voices, often dissenting, and in trying to please everyone you end up defeating the purpose of the original exercise. You come up with a heavy, overly cumbersome process that tries to solve every edge case that ever happened over the previous 20 years!
Over time I’ve learnt that a far better approach is to keep things simple. I often tell FINEOS clients that if something is hard to design or explain, you’ve probably over engineered it. No matter how much you analyze a problem you are highly unlikely to solve it 100% correctly at your first attempt. So isn’t a better approach to get the minimal viable functionality available and usable in the shortest possible time? Let the end users decide where the shortfalls are, and use all that extra budget you saved to provide the real benefits, once you really know what those benefits are.