The messiest state

“It isn’t good enough for our systems to be capable of beautifully perfect organizations; we will find their messiest allowable state at some point.”

I love that term: The “messiest allowable state”.

Thinking about the perfect user journey is often a joy – even if we throw in fixes for common pitfalls. It’s just so easy to be wrapped up in imagining how everything clicks together and how the user will just flow through the experience that we have layed out for them.

Reality is often different. We are dealing with humans after all: We’re in a rush. Not reading carefully. Just wanting work to be over. Thinking about the “messiest allowable state” for our systems accounts for that in a way that is so much more evokative to me then simply calling it “edge cases”. It puts the actual humans who interact with the machine back at the center – with all the messiness that comes with that.