Can Systems be Fun??

For many years now I have been helping small and large organisations develop, implement and improve their management systems. My focus has always been to integrate the management system into the company’s existing systems and processes as much as possible and to make it BAU (business as usual).

It has become obvious to me that the more rewarding a system is to use the more it will be adopted. As an engineer from way back I am partial to a spreadsheet, but to many people spreadsheets are boring, and for some they are overwhelming. If we want a system to be successful, we need to bring in an element of fun!

So how do we make a system fun? There are three things that come to mind straight away.

✅ Firstly, a system needs to be relevant to the user. “Why would I bother completing this form when half of it doesn’t relate to me?” Interactivity can produce relevance and add an element of fun. An easy example is a form that uses conditional logic, as it makes the content of the form relevant to the user.

✅ Then it needs to be visually appealing – simple colour codes, graphs showing trends, and other visual techniques allow people to see what is going on at a glance. When people can easily understand information that is relevant to them, they feel that the system is responsive to their needs.

✅ The glue that sticks it together is simplicity. Make the system easy to use by employing the KISS principle (Keep it Simple Sunshine). Systems can be complex, but they need to feel simple. The best way to keep them simple is to identify key processes and break them down to essential steps. Ask what must happen and remove what is just a distraction.

If you are looking at a new management system, or perhaps frustrated by staff engagement with your existing one, another pair of eyes can help. Perhaps you need someone to put your system to the fun test!