A couple of years ago I wrote a blog on the Complexity of Simplicity so I wondered if I'd be repeating myself if I wrote again about simplicity. But having just re-read it I'm taking a different tack this time - no nugatory work involved.
Nugatory means something of no value or importance. Look around your organisation and see if there is nugatory work going on. It can be difficult to spot – particularly if it's part of what 'we do around here' but it's the type of thing that can slow down effectiveness. When I ask, 'What work needn't be done? 'when I'm facilitating organization design workshops people can generally provide a list of stuff like producing unread reports, or multiple re-drafting of documents, or clunky business processes or duplicative functions. Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoon strip, provides multiple fun/familiar examples. I typed 'nugatory work' into the search box on his website and got a message 'Notice: Too many results returned for your search. Displaying the first 1000 most relevant results'.
I don't remember if the reminder of the Agile Manifesto, principle that 'Simplicity - the art of maximizing the amount of work not done - is essential' came up in relation to nugatory work this week but they are connected. Maximising the amount of work not done means not doing nugatory work. It also means not doing work that doesn't fall into the nugatory bucket but still doesn't need to be done.