Don’t Paint a Rusty Car

A hammer is only as useful as the person wielding it. I have a friend, who by his own admission would be unable to nail two boards together without hitting his fingers more times than the nail. He understands this and gets help when this is required.

In a similar way, we have applications (tools) which we believe (or are told) may no longer suit our needs. The common misconception here is that the tool is impeding us from improving on service delivery. As a result we go out looking for an application to help us make improvements. The trouble here is that much like the hammer we have not necessarily addressed the question of whether or not we will use a new tool any better.


Don’t paint a rusty car to make improvements. If you think that a new tool is going to magically fix any service delivery woes overnight you may be disappointed. New paint never fixed an engine.

Think about what you are doing today first. Starting with an assessment of what you do today will allow you to not only understand current state but position you to make some further service improvements. This will help you down the line should you still decide to pursue a new application to help facilitate service delivery. In some cases this self-assessment will make it very clear if spending money on a new tool will be even worth your effort.

Your initial assessment should include the following areas for consideration:

Get a sense of the current landscape

Determine the current existing services, processes and infrastructure that make up the area you are looking to cover. Whether you are looking for an IT tool or if it’s HR, take into consideration all the areas that this tool will impact. Part of this investigation may outline that there more (external to your department) stakeholders that once originally considered.

Gaze into the future

Gather an outline of the future state of the environment. Make sure to include not only what is currently required for providing service but also what may be improved in regards to service delivery

Plan of attack

Build out a roadmap to determine how you are going to get where you want to go. At a high level this should include what you are looking to accomplish and when. You should also consider what steps will need to be taken to get you from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. This playbook will also keep you on target as far as meeting your objectives

Having this baseline information will allow you to be positioned to verbalize to potential sponsors the value add of making changes, the risks or impacts associated of not making changes as well as outlining that current processes or activities have reached a point where they can no longer make significant improvements without changing to a new tool.


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