Just Enough, then Out of the Way

“We rely on simple, efficient thought processes to get the job done—not so much out of laziness (though there is some of that, too), but out of necessity. There is just too much going on, too much to notice, understand, and act on, for us to give every individual and every occurrence our undivided, unbiased attention. So not only are you innately hard to understand, but the people observing you are hoarding their attention.”

From No One Understands You and What to Do About It by Heidi Halvorson

I couldn’t resist this quote when I read it earlier this week. On Tuesday, the 15th, I gave a presentation to a Business Analysts Meetup Group in Brisbane on the core concept of the Jobs to be Done framework, the Job.

The words “get the job done” stood out straight away.

I was primed to see them.

Specifically, the link between getting the job done and being a cognitive miser caught my attention.

First, you are a cognitive miser. Sorry if you didn’t know that.

So am I.

In fact, we all are.

The term refers to our tendency to use the minimum mental resources required to do what we are doing. We value our limited mental resources highly and find ways to conserve those resources. We use short efficient processes to do this.

They aren’t necessarily the most accurate. But on average they work out well enough for us to get by.

This link stands out to me as we should always be trying to minimise the cognitive load on our customers.

Focusing on the job at hand, on doing just the right amount of work needed, helps our stakeholders get their job done with minimal effort.

It follows that they then have the mental resources to pay attention to things that matter.

Maybe that is you?

Just get out of their way when you are done. And don’t over do it.

Is that just good design?


Feature image courtesy of Jeremy Thomas and Unsplash.com