Leap Year Lesson #212: Do It Right the First Time

Posted: August 3, 2012 in Business Processes

I spent hours today getting only one-fourth of the way through a slow, frustrating process I have to do every few months.  What is it?  It’s going through over 1000 screens of names in an online report and manually pulling out relevant data I need.  The software I must use for this provides no way for me to sort or filter the information by criteria I select, and also provides no way for me to export the data into a format I can manipulate as needed.

1019 screens of 20 names each with one other column of info beside each name…  How could anyone release such a feature in a software application?

Either throwing such a report in the product was an afterthought with no real planning put into it, or it was only envisioned for use with the smallest of companies that wouldn’t have 20,000-member online communities using the product.  Regardless of how it came to be, it is woefully inadequate.

What amazes me is how too many companies rush to get products to market without adequate testing and input from consumers.  It took me all of two minutes the first time I saw this report to come up with the obvious need for filtering, sorting and exporting the data in order to be useful.  Any real customer could have told the vendor that after a few minutes with the product.  Were customers asked?  Apparently not.

I’ve seen our company do the same too many times to count.  A handful of the wrong people are involved in the design of something, neither focus groups nor real users are asked for input, and deadlines driven by arbitrary and unrealistic dates that minimize the time for adequate testing all converge to roll out a product that is mediocre or downright poor.  Then, if anyone cares to correct what is wrong, far more time is given to redo the work than would have been necessary if it was done right the first time.

Businesses and leaders need to stop being driven solely by what is expedient in the short-term and start caring about the quality of what they deliver.

Leap year lesson #212 is Do it right the first time.

  1. Rick Sloan says:

    Oh yes I couldn’t agree more Jeff. So many systems are designed in a rush because of budget constraints and unrealistic deadlines. IMO applications should be treated like pieces of architectual artwork, with the customer (internal or external), the business team that will be working with the data and process of using the application, and a few other important partners involved in the development process.

  2. Jeff Ross says:

    Agreed, Rick. We seem to never learn the lesson. I’m not sure what it will take to change except a change in priorities for leadership.

  3. Valary says:

    Jeff, I think another consideration nowadays has to do with age-ism. Despite the “don’t trust anyone over 30” sentiments common in our youth, we still respected people with vast expertise due to years of experience, otherwise known as “old timers.”

    Not so today. Too many 30-somethings think that because we 50+ folks tend to be technically challenged, that we do not understand “how things should be done.” While there is a grain of truth to that (some of us old codgers are quite recalcitrant!), it is unwise to discount the input of people with decades of experience.

  4. Jeff Ross says:

    Valary, That’s an interesting thought. The last couple of years have made me very aware of some of the career issues with growing older. I’m in a field (social media) where so many assume you have to be a millennial to really get it and know what you’re doing. I’ve heard comments that I hope I never said when I was younger about older folks (though I may have said them). My previous manager said he had people show shocked reactions when he told them about me doing what I do because they just assume the role is filled by some young adult. That’s sad. I just continue to do my best and let the success tell the story. Being regularly asked to host webinars, speak at conferences, and interviewed for research studies, articles and books is a welcome affirmation that maybe the ol’ guy knows what he’s doing.

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