I’m looking at a program that no one knew existed, that has to be renewed by the end of the year. It has 100 hours of content, a manual account setup process, and class sessions that expire. Every part of this thing spawns more complexity.
This is the problem with learning. Learning is marginalized in an organization but they don’t get rid of it because it is important. It’s just that no one wants to deal with it. This leaves the learning folk with anxiety about their relevance and time and funding to create systems. The complexity of the system soon becomes a drug that they can’t quit.
Time moves on and this system fades into the background. Later, when someone like me is asked to step in and clean up, the light of day sends people scurrying. Suddenly stakeholders appear saying that this system must be supported.
What is needed is to challenge every assumption that each component of the system is built on. Then you can cut down the unnecessary details until you are left with the functionality that is actually needed. From there you can start anew and ask the questions you would ask on a new project: What value is this system providing? What is the simplest way to produce that value?