Talk to the users, don’t blame technology

Every time I get involved into an ongoing project, dealing with mobile capabilities, and struggling to find their way around it (from an applications point of view), the first question I ask is “Have you talked to the users?”

The answers usually go like these:

  1. What do you mean?”
  2. “No, why?”
  3. No, but we talked to their manager” – (which happens to have a different set of requirements)

Modern companies have moved to more agile and dynamic ways around this; getting the users involved from the beginning, aiming to get a first-hand understanding of their needs, and reduce the margin of error.

In the meantime traditional organisations still stuck on an old school assumptions-based approach, where a bunch of requirements are created based on what other people think the users need, or would be “good for them to have”; all of this, while genuinely hoping to “get things right the first time”. Good luck with that.

The end-user never gets involved, yet they are going to be provided with solutions that are going to significantly affect their work.

Knowing the workflow, doesn’t mean knowing the details of been in the field doing the job.

Talk to the users, spend time with them, and you probably will be surprised with the amount of elements that where not into consideration. Because some (most) of the times, a little detail that no one ever thought about can make the difference.

Surprise yourself earlier and it would be cheaper, but don’t blame technology later because someone choose the wrong product or people can’t do their jobs as easy as (others) expected.