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A Strictly Important Lesson To Learn

UK residents couldn't have possibly missed the furore about "Strictly Come Dancing" on Saturday - either as viewers of the programme or as observers of the news media subsequently.  The events that have played out, and are still playing through, are a great advert for what happens when you don't think things through properly.

There were only 4 possible outcomes from the judges' voting on Saturday night - 2 of which were already catered for in the process, and the other two that were not.  Of course, one of the two 'unplanned' outcomes did occur, and this has caused a whole load of problems. Because they had not planned in advance for this eventuality, the producers and others associated with the show were unable to react, at the end of the first show, and therefore public voting began in the interval between the main show and the results, one hour later.

As a result, the public probably voted in their tens of thousands to try and save a contestant that could not be saved.  This being the case, when the show came back on air, the only course of action available was to let all three contestants through to the final, which meant hundreds of thousands of phone calls had been placed for no apparent reason.  of course, they've said that these votes will not be wasted, as they will be carried over to the final, but this is not the same thing.  What a mess!

Of course, there is a serious point in all this, which is that this whole issue illustrates what happens when something isn't designed properly.  A proper walk-through of the show, focusing on the key aspects, identifying the key outcomes and determining the way forward if each is triggered is a key element of any 'product design', and is as relevant in any product or service area.  There are too many instances of this in the modern world - none more so than in banking.  Doubtless, it was the inability, or unwillingness, of people to properly consider the key potential outcomes and their consequences that enabled the launch and use of crazy securitisation products like CDOs, and suicide lending policies like self-certification, 125% mortgages and mad salary multipliers.

If we can only learn from the experience of "Strictly" which, after all, is a lesson that millions of people have been exposed to this weekend, then maybe the chaos visited on our screens and in the media this week, might be worthwhile.

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