Management Tips

The K.I.S.S. principle: doing the things in a simple way


Every day, lot of companies are designing products, services or processes, which aiming to provide solutions to different problems. At the same time, technology is evolving so rapidly, that any approach may leave obsolete sooner than one can imagine. Some people don’t care about the fact that systems are becoming more complex, other people say the opposite. Once William of Ockham (Franciscan friar and philosopher of the fourteenth century) promulgated, with his famous phrase:

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita.

Translated from Latin: “We should not presume the existence of more things than absolutely necessary.” This expression means that under equal conditions, the simplest solution is the one with a higher probability of being the best.

In the same line as above, here is the quote from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of the famous book “The Little Prince”, who coined a popular phrase that includes the same idea:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.

If we advance a little further in time to the early days of the space race back in the sixties, we will land in the KISS Principle. It promotes the simplicity as the key to success of any product or process. It is a statement of intent in favor of simplicity. His initials come from English and means:

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

It’s a principle applicable to any area that one can imagine: product or service development, project management, process, etc. Every system, the easier it is, the clearer are its parts and functions and the more easily detectable errors are that may occur: much better.

Who can apply the KISS principle?

Experience shows that the size of a business is not a factor that determinates its offering simple solutions to any problems. If we went deep, we would be able to see that there are companies that have “a lot of muscle” but their products are worse than the products of other business less strong.

Nor are limiting the turnover, or the fact of having a specific department dedicated to innovation. The KISS principle can (and should) be applied in any company in any field of activity.


Customers appreciate the value of simple things

Working under the premise of the KISS principle, it’s synonymous of providing value to customers. Simple products that comply their function and simple processes. In brief, giving to the customer products and services that work, at least, what he expected of them. Products that are easily usable with a simple learning curve and effortless for the user or complex products that require training and patience to understand its operation and whose learning curve is long and hard … Which one do you think the customer will choose?

In certain segments users of the products or services used only 10% of the functionality available. I remember 5 years ago, when I had a phone that was not a smartphone, but it allowed to read email, download applications, games, connect to networks, have a camera with flash … I only used to send and receive calls and sms. This week I received a survey from a hotel where I stayed a while ago, asking if I had used services in a long list that I didn’t see during my stay.

It’s not bad the fact that there are so many services, but the overall product is so complex that my ability to value is reduced. The first is to cover the basics well, namely to ensure the core functionality expected from the product or service.

Conclusion: we must make available to customers simple products and processes. Always remember the KISS principle and … Keep It Simple, Stupid!

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