Why You Should KISS

Simplicity is indeed a hot commodity and not as easy to come by as you might expect. From engineers, to strategists, to artists, designers continue to agree that simplicity is a key in meeting the objective at hand.

KISS or Keep it Simple Stupid, was coined by Kelly Johnson, a lead engineer at Lockheed Martin. She coined the phrase in reference to a requirement for a repair process to be uncomplicated given the available resources to resolve the problem. It was therefore in the best interest of everyone if design engineers kept this in mind during the design phase.

Principal Application
Processes can be complex just by the nature of the subject matter, the volume of business, or the number of delivery channels, etc. so the best manner to ensure that everyone stays on track and communication remains clear and understandable is to keep as many factors as simplistic as possible. Then the team can focus on dealing with the inherent task complexity instead of red tape bureaucracy. A good manager/leader reduces bureaucracy and increases productivity.

Simplicity Requires Work
So far, this sounds like a very easy thing to accomplish. However, anyone that has worked on a project team, a brainstorming team, or other collaborative effort knows that just because it is perfectly clear to one individual does not mean that it is perfectly clear to another. It actually takes considerable time, dedication, and attention to detail before a “simple” process can be agreed upon.

Team Structure: Do you have the right mix of people from the organization? A diversity in perspective is required so that “simple” is understood throughout the organization.

Moderator: Everyone’s opinion must be heard and valued. This requires an objective and engaging moderator who may need to come from an external organization.

Testing: So you’ve agreed to a process and you have your initial template. Now you need a team for testing the theory, to beat it up and ask the right questions and find out whether or not it holds up under the scrutiny of a new set of eyes. The results of this part of the process lets you know whether or not you succumb to groupthink and it’s back to the drawing board, or if you move onto the implementation phase.

Review Processes: Last but not least, a review process must be instituted to ensure that your process remains simple and relevant.

Practical Application
As discussed in the article Keep it Simple Stupid consumers rather enjoy knowing exactly what your company offers. When you take the guess work out, the customer can relax, knowing that you have defined the need, want, and desire as well as offer the solution. Besides, it's profitable to maintain your product or service simple enough to meet the needs of your varied customers - everyone is slightly different, with their own spin on the need, so a little built in flexibility makes "customization" a breeze.