Overview: What is Keep It Simple and Specific (KISS)?

This principle stems from the idea that overcomplicating concepts can cause a variety of issues, so keeping things as simple and specific as possible is best.

3 benefits of Keep It Simple and Specific (KISS)

Here are some clear benefits of keeping it simple and specific:

1. Connection

A benefit of this concept is that it allows your team to more easily connect to the goals of the organization emotionally and conceptually.

2. Easy-to-digest performance measures

Another benefit is that teams can work off of a simplified performance measure as well as receive feedback that is evidence-based.

3. Team agility

Keeping concepts no-fuss and easy to navigate allows for a team to be more agile in its pursuit of high return-on-investment (ROI) actions.

Why is Keep It Simple and Specific (KISS) important to understand?

Understanding this concept is important for the following reasons:

Simplicity is preferable

Humans prefer simple designs because we can process them more easily. This translates to how ideas are presented to us as well. Understanding this makes you more apt to present your goals and concepts to your team and customers in a way that helps ensure success.

Project development

Understanding this concept is beneficial for implementation in any project, but is especially useful during the development phase.

Even innovations that are naturally complex can be presented simply

Understanding how to simplify the end result of complex processes can be a powerful part of innovation.

An industry example of Keep It Simple and Specific (KISS)

Apple products have proven to be so popular due to their clean packaging, minimalist design, and easy-to-navigate operating system. This is in contrast to Microsoft, which many have complained about being too busy. By utilizing the KISS principle, Apple gained a strong foothold in the marketplace.

4 best practices when thinking about Keep It Simple and Specific (KISS)

There are some practices you should definitely keep in mind when incorporating the KISS method into your planning:

1. Begin with the end in sight

Have your goals be clearly defined and not be actions or vague initiatives.

2. Have your goals listed in plain language that even a child could understand

When listing your goals, avoid using fuzzy language or corporate jargon. Using plain and concrete language that is used in the real world and that a child could comprehend.

3. Be very specific

Don’t group several priorities into one goal statement. Instead, keep each goal focused on one priority.

4. Prioritize ruthlessly

Stop leading like everything has the same level of priority. Put the focus on where gap analysis has shown performance gaps are largest or where the customer experience is affected significantly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Keep It Simple and Specific (KISS)

Who first said, “Keep it short and simple?”

It was first supposedly used by Kelly Johnson. For over 40 years, Johnson was an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Martin.

What should be done with unnecessary complexity?

Unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

What did Clarence “Kelly” Johnson say about most systems?

He expressed that most systems work at their best if they are kept simple as opposed to being made complicated.

Simpler is generally better

Whether it comes to product design, how a project is launched, or even instructions for how to operate a machine—simplicity is definitely preferred. Finding ways to simplify ideas and concepts can only benefit your business.

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