Intentional software design and the customer tightrope

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Customer designed solutions are radically flawed. IT people do that to manage their business counterparts. “You asked for X and I gave you X. Hope you can drive adoption!” This demands too little from the business to articulate the value proposition – the users, defined market, unique difference and desired outcome. This absolves IT from having to contribute to the leadership of thinking, discovering and doing the right thing.

No software company alive has initially built software based on customer requirements. Gathering feedback and user testing are not the same as beginning with the survey of what a customer “wants.” In fact, the challenge has always been how to validate the applicability of a customer’s request over the money they may be willing to pay.

Yet, it would seem everyone wants to start with the construction, we are human after all, instead of starting with what at the core uniquely delivers value and in turn defines the product and the company. Upon reflection, I recall an ex-manager that said, “I think we will end up at the same place, we just start at different beginnings.” If you subscribe to this point-of-view you will end up with a core that is not of your own creation, but instead one of circumstance. This doesn’t make it wrong, but it does make it unintentional.