I was reading this article about the introduction of IBM's Thinkpad laptop and was struck by these two thoughts:

  1. At the time, black PCs were not allowed in Europe because it was believed that anything other than off-white put too much strain on the eyes. So IBM put a sticker on the laptop that read "Not for Office Use."
  2. IBM had a longstanding rule that forbade the use of red on anything other than the emergency power switch on mainframes, so they said the little trackpoint button was "magenta."

What struck me about this was how incredibly stupid these rules are, but more importantly, how stupid rules like that could have hindered the introduction of a great product, if not for the creativity of the inventors to work around the rules.

So ask yourself: How many rules does your organization have in place that hinders, rather than helps, you manage your database? And if there are rules like this, ask yourself why? Too often, the answer is "Because we've always done it that way." (Hmmm, sounds familiar…)

Don't let outdated, unused, or just plain bad business rules hinder your success. If you have a rule that can't be justified, trash it. You'll be happy you did.