Consistent or Change?

Years ago –  it seems like another lifetime – I used to design software for insurance agencies.   The company I worked for had just put out the first GUI (graphical user interface) system for insurance agents – that’s how long ago it was.  It was an exciting time – things were changing so fast.  What was do-able when something was designed was almost outdated by the time it could be coded, tested and sent out the door.

Sometimes someone would argue that something new we wanted to do wasn’t consistent with how we used to do it. One of the technical people would pop up with a phrase that he always attributed to Bill Gates.  “Do you want to be consistent, or do you want to do it right?” he would ask.  Even though I fully realize that ‘right’ is often subjective, that phrase has always stuck with me.  Consistency for consistency’s sake has never struck me as a good idea

If we remained consistent through the ages, we would still be living in caves.  We might discover new things, such as electricity and the internal combustion engine, but we would never figure out ways to use them to make our lives better.

Times change, systems change, thoughts change, technology changes.    Things are changing very quickly these days – the computer you bought last month is already old technology, and you can probably already find a better cell phone than the one you bought last week.

So what are we supposed to do?  Do we choose to stay consistent come hell or high water?  Do we go along with every new change that comes along?

Just as I believe consistency for consistency’s sake is not good, I also believe that change for change’s sake is not good.  So here are my thoughts …. I want to have a reason for whatever I decide to do.  I try not to jump on the bandwagon and get the latest and greatest just because it exists.  I also try to be sure I am not avoiding the latest technology just because I want to stick with the old consistent way I know.  Believe me when I say this is a fine balancing act – I am not always successful at it.  I think I am doing ok with it though, and I believe that is because I am doing the best I can.  I am trying to be aware of my choices and my reasoning, and I think that’s just going to have to be enough.

How about you?  Are you on one side or the other of the ‘consistency vs change’ debate?  Or have you figured out how to deal with it?  I’d love to hear what you think, and how you cope.


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>