Less work now means more work later

Very often I learn my clients are managing data in a way that is “easier” for now, but winds up creating much more work later. Some immediate examples:

  1. Using a third party registration company to manage meeting registration (less work) and importing the attendance data back into the primary database (more work).
  2. Managing lists of committees in Outlook (less work) rather than managing the committee lists directly in the database (more work).

In both of these simple examples, staff is trading something for that easier work, though they may not know it. In the first case, the tradeoff is usually that the data never gets imported back into the database from the registration company, because it’s too hard/too expensive.

The trade-off in the second example is that the history (e.g., who served when, in what position) of the committees isn’t tracked in Outlook and doesn’t get tracked in the database. The result is losing all that important volunteer information.

I could go on, but you get the point. While you may be “saving work” with your immediate solutions, are you trading too much to make life easier? Maybe sometimes it’s better to do more work now, so you can do less work later.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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