Dented bins and software development.

They have more in common than you think!

The office I work in is beautiful. We have quite a lot of amenities including unlimited Hint water (the latest water craze in tech), dart boards, and beautiful restrooms with showers nicer than the ones in most people’s homes.

While changing after a post run shower this morning I noticed something… the bin in the restroom was severely dented.

Poor bin

It was clear that someone had sat on top of it and pushed in the lid. As I was changing at the time, it made total sense why someone would sit on it. I was poorly balancing while putting on socks and shoes and I was desperately eyeing the open seat toilet as a place to sit. Couldn’t do it though. Admittedly, I had also eyed the bin as a temporary bench but didn’t want to inflict the damage I would later notice that someone else had.

Call it being tech obsessed but I immediately thought about how this poor bin related to building software. This was a classic example of someone making a decision for what the bathroom (the product) should contain (the features) without fully considering what will happen in the bathroom (user needs).

If the decorator had walked through only a few use cases I guarantee they would have realized that naked people need a place to sit while getting dressed and their perfectly placed bin would eventually be sacrificed.

Moral of the story is to take the time to fully understand how people will use the product, feature, or restroom you’re offering before adding features to it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a collection of dented bins that cost money to replace.

Do you have your own “dented bin”? I want to hear about it.