Is it time for a complexity audit?

I read recently that one of the reasons companies switch to new project management tools and rave about how great they are is because they are able to make a fresh start without the clutter and noise that led them to despise their previous platform! It’s often less about whether the new tool really is better.

I’ve been wondering what it would be like to start from scratch with existing tools—setting up a fresh instance without switching platforms.

I’ve realized this is what I am increasingly doing with ecommerce brands I work with: helping rebase onto a fresh, new, modern theme, for instance—using the learnings from previous iterations, hacks, and workarounds to build best-practice foundations. A new starting point for the next phase of growth.

Today I attended Klaviyo’s terrific New York Partner Day and something that struck me is how important this approach of rebasing is across any aspect of a business’s tech stack that has become bloated and unwieldy over time.

In order to do this, it seems to me a good place to start would be a complexity audit.

For Shopify, this might be a summary of all the custom features and “requirements” that informed the current theme build, the number of collections, custom templates, apps, tags, metafields, square-peg-in-round-hole workarounds.

For Klaviyo, it might be all the flows, templates, assets, content, AB variations, custom data points.

For Recharge, it might be workflows, portal and widget/integration customizations, product configuration.

For Google and Facebook Ads, it might be the number of campaigns, campaign groups, keywords, assets, audiences, ads.

The list goes on. If you’ve been around for a while, many aspects of your business have likely become more complex and less refined over time, leading to increasing complexity, inefficiencies, and headspace and financial burden.

All that to say, an audit of the complexity of the tools, systems, and processes you’re using would no doubt be tremendously insightful—and would almost certainly lead to significantly more impactful work when it comes time to rebase and simplify.

If you’re struggling with complexity and are finding yourself endlessly tweaking and fiddling with things—but unsure what’s really going to make a difference—perhaps it’s time to assess the complexity of your business to see where you can rebase to the simplest foundations to build upon.

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