In 2015, your customers demand an intuitive and seamless digital experience. How can you ensure that you deliver against this expectation? Consider the following scenario: Your firm creates a new digital product that is expected to dramatically enhance both its user and customer experiences. Everyone acknowledges the product will be a game changer. The development team works day and night to ensure it meets product delivery milestones dates. The product manager actively markets to and engages her customer base, fostering the expectation that this new product will be life altering. The big day comes when the product is launched to great fanfare and perceived success. At this point you may be asking why I say “perceived success”. I’ll answer that question with another question: what actually defines success for this product?
I recently read an article attributing Peter Drucker with coining the phrase “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast”. Upon some informal research, I found the quote was contested by different commenters on which is more important – Strategy or Culture. Some argued culture has to be designed to support strategy, while others said culture always trumps strategy. The saying seems designed more for personal interpretation by the reader than a concise business principle. While the quote seems to be fodder for management articles, it prompted me to think about culture from my professional experience in both industry and consulting roles.
Recently, a client asked for a series of dashboards to help him understand certain usage trends in his company. After a detailed requirements phase, I completed the dashboard development and presented the product. Upon seeing the dashboards, he realized they didn’t quite hit the mark. Instead, he wanted some basic reports he could use for analysis.
Any gaps between developers and users can—and will—be filled with client expectations. Even weeks or months after the requirements phase ends, the user’s mind may still be churning. The user may be imagining the visual appeal of the final product, which could include drill-down capabilities, interactive graphs or automated report delivery—none of which were addressed during requirements.