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The second time through the process

When you’re making a new system – a workflow, a procedure for quality control or process management, a new tool for others to use – don’t let anyone be fooled into thinking that the second time through the system will be easier than the first.

The second time through will bring its own problems. Half of them are things you simply missed the first time; the other half are things that you broke when you where improving the system the first time through, or things that only become apparent now that other things are moving smoothly and you’re starting to have a clearer idea of what the system’s supposed to do.

The third time it will start to get easier, and with a bit of practice it will start to run smoothly, until you introduce your first outside user, who comes with untrained eyes and a different set of assumptions and blind-spots.

Then you can write the user’s guide for what you’ve made. Just don’t expect it to work perfectly on the second user…

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