Effectiveness in IT terms

Peter Drucker said “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Though effectiveness and efficiency may be confused but both are two different things. For example: If your application is not supported by the higher versions of Internet Explorer, you can use the compatibility view and still make your application work. So when a user comes to you with the issue you just ask the user to use compatibility view -this is efficiency. On the other hand, if you fix the issues due to which your application does not work on IE higher versions, then that is effectiveness.

Effectiveness determines how you service your client or the kind of solutions you provide, while efficiency determines how fast you service your client or provide quick fixes. Effectiveness may help you provide a long term fix or a module, which may end up being beneficial to the client. Efficiency may, on the other hand, provide a short term fix which may work only on certain conditions.

I have seen that effective solutions not only benefit the client but also benefit us. When you try to be effective i.e. try to fix the root cause, you end up learning more and understand the technology / application better. This in turn helps you to be more efficient.

However, in the world where we are governed with service level agreements, timelines, budgets and sprints its not always possible to be effective. Its during these times, we have to do a balancing act of being effective and efficient. Pick up issues or modules which are important and are heavily used and try to be effective. For the other modules/issues provide patch work till you get efficient bandwidth. In fact, be upfront with the client in cases where you will be putting in more effort and in places where you plan to do patch work.

The best way to succeed is to walk the middle line between efficiency and effectiveness.

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