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Posts tagged ‘incremental development’

Talk to your target customer and start by asking them how your design makes them feel

Discussion

We have noticed a distinct trend with our clients, business partners, and colleagues; while many of them talk the talk of a design approach centered on customer requirements, most skip the step of asking their customers, taking the path of “I already know” and “if we build it, it will be awesome, and they will come.” If IBM’s move to a Design Centered Strategy is any indication of the popularity of a design-centric approach, then why are so many businesses from startups to public companies paying lip service to design first, but not actually doing it?

This position is not without some justification; customers willing to talk with you are likely to be more amenable to your offering and provide you with a “warm fuzzy” response to any product that you show them. While participating in an alpha testing program for Tamr Catalog, their UX designer didn’t just ask about functionality. In fact, their first question about a prototype was, “How does this make you feel?”.

It truly altered the way I was thinking about the design I was looking at. Instead of focusing on does it have feature a or b, I was now thinking about how the design felt a little cold and “all business,” I was confused about what unlabeled icons meant, and I wasn’t sure what to do first.

And all of this happened in a few short Google video chats, each less than 30 minutes. While they did ask about my requirements, they did so within a lean, design-centric framework, also asking indirect questions to help uncover true pain points.

Don’t be constrained by your existing business model, naysayers that refuse to acknowledge the value of early customer feedback, or doing just good enough.  Talk to your target customers to understand the key features that they want.

 

BI Basics Part 5: How is BI used?

April 22nd, 2013

Seabeck Systems, LLC

How is BI used?

We’ve established that BI is a systematic approach to understanding company performance. A mature BI program generates actionable information that people are equipped to use for daily decision-making. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for maturity to get some benefit from BI.

To implement a successful BI program at your company, your first steps are to invest time and brainpower to define your business and how it works. This detailed process of question and answer can be a challenge, but it’s also a great gift. Only by defining your business processes first can you understand how your business performs, and why changes occur.

This crucial process of business and technical evaluation is what we like to call Phase 0 of the BI program. The results of Phase 0 help clarify what a company wants to measure, and how to measure each element. We use Phase 0 to help our clients survey existing architecture, draw up a model of existing business data and processes, and develop a roadmap of measurable objectives.

The BI roadmap is an incremental plan for long-term BI program development. By incremental, we mean each Phase of the BI program is designed to proceed at a sustainable pace, with short-term gains in functionality. The incremental approach favors flexibility to changing business requirements, and fosters long-term company visibility for the BI program. (Remember, people are essential to BI success.)

Every BI program can be leveraged as soon as launched to broaden knowledge about company operations. As soon as you begin asking how your company operates and why, you’ll gain valuable insight. Like the sages said, “Know thyself.”

Got more questions? Try the BI Basics index, or share your questions in the comments.