Workstyles and end-user experience
I get very encouraged when I hear IT people worrying about the way people actually work, and even more so when they realise that the IT industry has not taken this issue seriously enough. IT people too often think in terms of features and not in terms of real-world business scenarios. Stu Downes provides a perfect example on his blog where he describes the complex workflow relationship between Executives and Assistants, when you think about how the software (Notes and Outlook for example) supports this workflow it makes me cringe.
Although I have no solutions I think we need to start thinking more about scenarios and processes than requirements and functions. As an example I wrote up a typical personal information management process, my intent (in summary form) was to demonstrate how to start thinking about the whole end-user experience and not just about specific service elements. I also think we need to start thinking more about how we accommodate the needs of different personality types.
In my company we use the term Workstyles to describe this approach, and we are thinking in terms of the end-user experience, and not just the services that compromise it. I think it’s a step in the right direction, particularly for infrastructure services where customers often don’t know what they want.