Simple rules for complex systems

Simple rules for complex systems

I first heard the phrase "simple rules for complex systems" from Jonah Goldberg, who was commenting on rules for political/social systems. But I think this maxim is very applicable to data management. After all, most AMS systems are complex, so the rules that manage them should be as simple as possible.

I've written many times about managing to the exception, and the dangers therein. If we apply the "simple rules" principle, we will, by definition, avoid managing to the exception. For example, any rule that also includes an "unless" or a "however" (e.g., do it this way, unless it's X, then do it that way) is complex and managing to the exception, and should be avoided.

So take a look at your business rules. For membership, for event registration, for your certification processes, for all the data you manage. How complicated are they? How many exceptions are being managed by them? What can you do to simplify them?

Repeat after me: Simple rules for complex systems.

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