A common mistake made by project owners is to create a system which is either over engineered or is overly feature rich. This approach produces a system which needs extensive training, experience or a mixture of both.

Trying to find staff with these skills creates excessive lead times and is usually expensive.

This is known as the OXO method of production:

Ordinary / Exceptional / Ordinary

The system is Ordinary, uses Exceptional (over trained or paid) people, and the outputs are minimal ROI (Ordinary). OXO projects create frustration, they have a high level of technical debt and usually get mothballed after a couple of years due to the low return on investment and frustrated (or lack of) staff.

Working in the position of Business Analyst for Intelligent Claims Management I put together a plan of action to create industry-changing software using a different method, the XOX approach. The software was so impressive the Quindell Portfolio purchased the company.

XOX projects are just the opposite – they’re systems which supply financial and project success to businesses and stands for:

Exceptional / Ordinary / Exceptional

Here the system does the hard work. It’s an Exceptional system, with Ordinary (adequately training and relatively cheap) staff and it produces Exceptional results (i.e. a high ROI). This KPI is recognised as a fundamental improvement in creating business growth by the AVN in their key publication “50 Ways to be more Successful in Business”:

41. Successful people rely on systems rather just on people. If the business only great because it’s got some exceptional people, what happens when they leave, or when you need more of them?”.

google is a good example of xox

Although not an internal use business system, Google is a good example of XOX where users have zero need for training and it produces exceptional results.

The conjecture doesn’t mean you need to remove specialists within a business – far from it. A system will never replace a person, but what it does mean is you can have a smaller number of highly qualified staff overseeing a pool of cheaper general staff.