The “Midvale School for the Gifted” approach to requirements gathering

A parable:  I once worked near (but not ON) a team of SharePoint consultants whose client had a problem.

The client had rolled out, at great expense, a project-workspace solution for their teams to share documents, schedules, photos, finances, etc. etc., with a workspace for every project.

For some reason, the workspaces went over like a lead balloon. After a big launch, and training and documentation and handholding and incentives, approximately 80% of the project teams across the organization stayed away.

So the company decided to fix it. They bit the bullet and hired a team working near me to figure out what went wrong, and how to make version 2.0 something all the teams would love to use every day. The team sent out its best and brightest to capture, to listen, to videotape, to whiteboard, and to expend great thought and analysis on what wasn’t working and how to fix everything. This went on for months and resulted in the most gorgeous designs and plans for Project Workspaces you’ve ever seen.

Now:  WHO, exactly, did these teams of analysts visit across the organization? Which users’ work habits and processes and preferences did they analyze?

That’s right:  the twenty percent who were using the old workspaces and were okay with them. Number of points of contact of any kind with the unhappy eighty percent? Zero.

‘Nuff said.

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About the Author: jeff@jeffkelly.com

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