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Hidden Costs of a Solution
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  • One of the costs of a solution is the problems it creates.

    Problems have value, when solved, solutions only have costs.

    When a problem has been solved there are intended consequences and unintended consequences. Some of the consequences are new problems that the solution creates. Any new system will need supporting and maintaining. If it is based upon products from one or more vendors, then problem could arise in terms of long term support. If the solution has custom built software then attracting and keeping programmers in a particular environment could become a problem.

    Dependencies change over time as the world changes. What is not a problem when the system is implemented can become a problem years down the track. Assumptions accepted and  decisions made in good faith at design time can be invalidated; external, environmental constraints can change.

    All these can become hidden costs of a solution. They can create or become problems of their own. Some are unavoidable and are just part of the background risk of any business activity. However the worst type of hidden cost is the type that becomes visible during development or implementation or as soon as the system goes live.

    The only way to address this issue is to make a conscious effort to "think things through" This is the hard part of problem solving and relies more on experience and "out-of-the-box" thinking than any form of sequencial or analytic thought processes.

    Bernard Robertson-Dunn, 2011

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