Fixing IT – Remembering What They’re Paying For

Dan Creswell‘s tweet said it well:

Max Roser‘s tweet, however, illustrated it in unmistakable fashion:

Success looks like that.

Not everyone gets to create the kind of magic that lets a blind woman “see” her unborn child. Nearly everyone in IT, however, has the ability to influence customer satisfaction. Development, infrastructure, support, all play a part in making someone’s life better or worse. It’s not just what we produce, but also the process, management and governance that determines how we produce. The product is irrelevant, it’s the service that counts. The woman in the picture above isn’t happy about 3D printing, she’s overjoyed at the experience it enabled.

Customer service isn’t just a concern for software vendors. It’s remarkably easy to destroy a relationship and remarkably hard to repair one. The most important alignment is the alignment of concerns between those providing the service and those consuming it. Mistrust between the two is a common source of “Shadow IT” problems, and far from helping, cracking down may well make things worse.

Building trust by meeting needs creates a virtuous circle. Satisfaction breeds appreciation. Appreciation breeds motivation. Motivation, in turns, yields more satisfaction.

As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.


3 thoughts on “Fixing IT – Remembering What They’re Paying For

  1. This is why we must come to understand the paradigm of “capabilities based planning.” What “Capability” do we need to provide to the business or to accomplish a mission. Irrespective of the actual technical requirements up front. The requirements to fulfill the mission will “emerge.” Never thought I’d be using that word By The Way. The agile notion of “emergent” has no “capabilities” into which to emerge.

    But the Requirements, technical and operational, will emerge when we start with Capabilities, their measures of effectiveness and performance.

    Like the 3D printer, the Measure of Effectiveness was the resulting “hearing”


    • Agreed (on both counts).

      There’s a reason the word “Emergence” looms large in the word cloud to the right – I’ve written a fair number of posts about the misuse of that term. It’s normal that challenges and the design decisions to reconcile them will emerge from the conflicting concerns of multiple stakeholders. It’s braindead to ignore known issues until the last second so that the design can “emerge” because of a dogmatic belief that anything else is BDUF.


  2. Pingback: A Meaningful Manifesto for IT | Form Follows Function

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