Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Doing Laundry: 4 Lessons for Building Great HR Software

Doing The HR Laundry

Doing laundry is only drudgery if it keeps you from doing something else.
  
One of the many advantages of being a “basement-office entrepreneur” is you can do the laundry during the day, and today I thought about 4 lessons that doing laundry can teach us about building great HR software. (OK, it’s a stretch – but hang with me here….)

Lesson 1: Separate the Light from the Dark. OK, this is no missive from a Jedi Master, but its roots are the same. Developers get so bogged down in the problems and exceptions that they forget to focus on the really good stuff. I have found a much better approach is to build in all the good stuff, make the software as delightful as possible, and then go back and eradicate all the evil with your Light Saber.

Lesson 2: Don’t Overload the Machine. Stop putting in so many features that you can no longer tell what the real purpose of the application is supposed to be. Have you ever tried posting a job in one of the “Top 3” recruiting solutions? Give me a break. I just need one button that says GO.

Lesson 3: Watch out for Imbalances During the Spin Cycle. This is all about evaluating your solution (taking it for a spin). Most HR solutions designers get too fixated on one or two issues and then over design the system to deal with that; while forgetting that the whole system needs to be in balance. This problem becomes particularly obvious to your customers when all your sales staff can talk about are two features. OK, I understand that your system can be in both English and Urdu, but can it actually track employee leave?

Lesson 4: Take Things Out Before They Wrinkle. This is not a statement supporting age discrimination.  This is the fact that most HR solutions designers don’t know when to stop. Have you ever noticed that Version 1.0 is often so much better than Version 2. Who told them we needed a feature to automatically schedule a lunch break when setting up the interview schedule (and to make it impossible to change it). I’ll eat when I want to eat!

Now, back to folding socks, maybe it’ll teach me how to play tennis.