Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Mr. Kringle's Ornaments

Once upon a time in the town of Evergreen, there lived an old man by the name of Mr. Kringle who made Christmas ornaments for a living. He lived in Evergreen his whole life and was the only Christmas ornament maker in town. Every day you would find him in his shop with his four employees working diligently on every ornament you could dream of. Each ornament was made by hand. The town loved his ornaments so much that the mayor would pay him $200 every year to decorate the largest evergreen tree in town. Then on day, Mr. Kringle noticed that another Christmas ornament maker opened up shop across the street from him. In his panic, he rushed across the street to see what was going on. As he approached the shop, he overheard a conversation between the shop owner and the mayor of the town. Apparently times were getting tough in the town of Evergreen and the mayor could no longer afford to pay Mr. Kringle the $200 for his ornaments, so the mayor asked the new shop owner how much it would cost to have him decorate the tree this year. Mr. Kringle could not believe his ears when the man explained that each of his four employees had an ornament machine that could make ornaments faster and cheaper. It would only cost the mayor $50. Christmas was approaching soon and Mr. Kringle knew he had to do something. For the next month, Mr. Kringle worked on an ornament machine for each of his four employees. Before he knew it, the time came to decorate the town Christmas tree. As the mayor approached Mr. Kringle's shop to explain to him that he was no longer going to be the one to decorate the tree, Mr. Kringle quickly placed the machines in front of his four employees. When the mayor opened the front door, he was shocked to see that the once lovely ornaments were just now a pile of rubble. Of course, the ornaments were now made at a faster rate but some were missing parts and others had extra parts. Mr. Kringle was so embarrassed after not being allowed to decorate the town Christmas tree that he closed his shop and never made an ornament again.

Moral: Allow the end users to test new equipment before introducing it. You can learn valuable information from the individuals who do the work every day. More importantly, don't assume that the users know how to perform the same tasks with new equipment, you must train them. You must also know how to get people to make a smooth transition from one system to another, giving up their old ways of doing things and accepting new ways.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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