Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Me too syndrome - was: Re: RE: [agile-usability] The simplest thing that could possibly be re-invented?

Expand Messages
  • robind@criticalmass.com
    Josh s idea below is a great thought, but it may not lead to the desired result As Ron mentioned, if the desire is to ship a feature like the competitor then
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 12, 2004
      Josh's idea below is a great thought, but it may not lead to the desired result As Ron mentioned, if the desire is to ship a "feature like the competitor" then it can be a difficult battle to change the direction.

      A good example of this is Microsoft copying Borland. Over the last couple years Borland acquired a group of products called the Borland Application Lifecycle Management suite. It includes Starteam, CaliberRM, Together, and JBuilder, with the goal of managing the whole SDLC process from requirements to code.

      Microsoft is busy blindly copying this strategy with Team System. However, if they were smarter, they wouldn't waste time with this approach, but would ask the "why" question and talk to not only MSFT users, but also Borland, Rational, Mercuruy, Compuware, and Agile users to find the better solution. For example, the usefulness to users of round trip "UML to code" modelling features would immediately be called into question.

      Instead of asking why, the MBAs at MSFT are looking for checkboxes on the package without talking with users who have much to offer that will improve their efforts.

      cheers,
      Robin.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Joshua Seiden <joshseiden@...>
      Date: Monday, October 11, 2004 7:33 pm
      Subject: RE: [agile-usability] The simplest thing that could possibly be re-invented?

      >
      >
      > Jeff Grover wrote:
      >
      > ... a great deal of the usability input we get whether
      > "evolutionary" or "revolutionary" originates from or is
      > relative to products competing with ours or performing
      > similar functions in some other market space. Here are
      > some examples:
      >
      > "We need a <Fill in your favorite object here> editor
      > that looks like <our competition>"
      > "Make the browsing feel like the Windows Explorer".
      > "Make the web page look like My Yahoo!, Amazon,...
      > <fill in your favorite site here>"
      >
      >
      > And:
      >
      > How can I more eloquently describe this to people
      > driven by "industry standards", "competetive analysis",
      > "code reuse", and "feature envy"? And, more
      > importantly, if I'm trying to be "agile"... how can I
      > argue the need for more rigorous user/interaction
      > design and testing (feedback)
      >
      >
      > -----------
      >
      > I find that when designs and solutions are expressed
      > relative to another product, it is often the sign of
      > sloppy thinking. If someone has thought through a
      > problem, there will be less need for comparison--and a
      > good chance that he or she will have some drawings,
      > documents, specifications--anything--that will express
      > that thinking more completely.
      >
      > Your examples above are solution statements--divorced
      > from any particular problem statement. Try seeking the
      > problem. (We had a good long thread on this a while
      > ago.) Ask a simple question: "Why?" This may reveal a
      > lack of thought, or it may yield a very good answer.
      > Sometimes, when you encounter a lack of thought, you
      > will find at it's core a lack of understanding of the
      > problem space. This is where you may have a good
      > opportunity to employ a more rigorous cycle of user
      > research, interaction design and testing.
      >
      > The potential upside is not "innovation" for its own
      > sake, but rather a solution that better fits the
      > *specific* problem you are trying to solve.
      >
      > Thanks,
      > JS
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Hugh Beyer
      _____ From: robind@criticalmass.com [mailto:robind@criticalmass.com] Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 1:04 PM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: Me
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 21, 2004
         


        From: robind@... [mailto:robind@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 1:04 PM
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Me too syndrome - was: Re: RE: [agile-usability] The simplest thing that could possibly be re-invented?


         ... 

        Microsoft is busy blindly copying this strategy with Team System. However, if they were smarter, they wouldn't waste time with this approach, but would ask the "why" question and talk to not only MSFT users, but also Borland, Rational, Mercuruy, Compuware, and Agile users to find the better solution. For example, the usefulness to users of round trip "UML to code" modelling features would immediately be called into question.

        Instead of asking why, the MBAs at MSFT are looking for checkboxes on the package without talking with users who have much to offer that will improve their efforts.
         
         
        It's worth remembering that commercial software is driven very much by reviews. So if a feature is going to be reviewed well (or not) it's worth putting in just so the mags say nice things about you. Since reviewers do not work in a user-centered way--they don't observe actual users trying to interact with the product they are using to do their real jobs, for the most part--what reviews well isn't the same as what's actually useful.
         
            Hugh
         
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.