There is nothing so permanent as business rules

There is nothing so permanent as business rules

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said, “There’s nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”

I have a similar thought when it comes to association business rules and programs.

Too often, new business rules or new programs are instituted, and once in place, are never again reviewed for their value or necessity. Here are some real-world examples:

  • I've had clients who have created "temporary" membership categories to manage all of seven individuals (while other categories have thousands of members). Years later, these membership categories still exist.
  • I've had clients tell me "This program loses money every year but it was the pet project of a past chairman and so everyone is afraid to cancel it."
  • I've had clients spend a lot of time and money collecting a whole bunch of demographic data on members, but never update the data after the initial push, thus making it useless within a year or so.

If something is truly "temporary" it should have a clear end-date. But too often we start programs or create business rules meant to be used only once, and they wind up becoming part of the institution.

You should review all of your business rules at least annually. And when you do, you should keep a sharp eye out for those "temporary" rules and programs that have somehow become permanent.

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