Rarely are stairs considered a crucial ‘room’ in a house. However, getting the location of the stairs correct is quite important. The stairs impacts the layout of most of the rooms, functional and structural walls, and how people move through the house, so when we get it wrong, it is costly and time consuming to fix. Getting the paint colour or choice of doors wrong is a pain, but relatively easy to fix.
Similarly, understanding which walls are structural (i.e. walls critical to keeping the house standing) and which are functional (i.e. separating rooms) is critical. It is much easier and less costly to move a functional wall, than a structural wall. However, moving the stairs is still more vital than structural walls.
Therefore, even though it may seem ‘boring,’ it is important to spend time thinking about the stairs as it affects most things.
So in our change projects, do we take the time to determine what aspect of our project is the ‘stairs’, what are structural walls, and what are paint colours. We can iterate and do A/B testing on the things that are functional walls, light fixtures, choice of doors and taps, etc. quite easily; it’s much, much harder and costlier to do this with stairs.
In ALL projects, whether they are about software, water, healthcare, houses, or plain old efficiency, there are stairs, walls, and paint. Do you know your stairs from your walls from your paint?