Chief Simplification Officer

What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?
Tony Robbins

Complexity is the single biggest challenge that stands in the way of us delivering OSS masterpieces. As described in, “The triple constraint of complexity,” the reduction of any complexity should have a multiplier effect towards the success of the project. This principle doesn’t just apply to OSS, but also to the CSPs that utilise them.

So for today’s blog, I came up with this catchy concept of the Chief Simplification Officer. How very unique… Only problem is that when I searched for the term online I found there were around 400,000 existing references so the concept isn’t remotely unique unfortunately. Anyway….

Whilst we all have the responsibility of being CSO on our projects, I wonder whether every significant OSS project or OSS operational team should have a CSO or a Project Simplification Officer whose entire purpose is to identify ways of making the OSS simpler.

Do you think that such a role is justified? If so, what do you think are the essential traits that this person would need?

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4 Responses

  1. Interesting idea Ryan! I wonder if creating a new job role entirely for this purpose might go against simplification, when as you say it should run through what everyone is doing. I’d be really interested to know of any that exist though! Do you know any?

    Sarah, Editor

  2. OSS, like a lot of IT, is very prone to scope creep.

    Even OSS ‘transformation’ projects, that attempt to rationalize the number of OSS systems, turn in to massive projects that not only replace existing functionality but extend it. Now, that sounds very logical, and no doubt OSS vendors promote adoption of new capabilities as justification for the project and their products.

    But, yes, why not simplify? Get an OSS system that does less but does it well.

    Problem is you need to retire comms products to clear out the catalog, retire technologies to clear out the inventory, and dump IT systems to reduce the number of tools.

    None of those are options that go down well with the CSP’s staff who day-to-day want to sell and bill for well established products, use the network that’s stood the test of time, and avoid retraining in new tools.

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Yeah, you’re right on the money about a new role being counter-intuitive to the concept of simplification. That’s why I think it would take someone with some very special attributes to do justice to the role and not just clog things up further. I’m not aware of anyone who is currently doing the role, either at an organisation level (CSO) or a project level (PSO), not by specific title anyway, but I do have a few thoughts that I’ll share in tomorrow’s follow-up post.


  4. Hi James,

    Thanks for your persuasive arguments. In fact you touch on a few of the points that I’ll cover in tomorrow’s follow-up blog. Great minds think alike, although I do have a couple of other perspectives to add into the discussion for your consideration too. 😉

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