RE: User friendly is what you get used to

Subject: RE: User friendly is what you get used to
From: Kat Kuvinka <katkuvinka -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: <jimmy -at- breck-mckye -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 17:47:45 -0500

> Sure it is. And yes, internal users can't reject your product for lack
> of ease-of-use. Just a few questions, though.
> 1. How long is the boss willing to endure errors whilst the users 'get
> used to things'? How much of the company's budget is that going to cost?
> What are the financial, opportunity and personnel costs of those
> mistakes?

It has been 12 years, from what I understand. In our field, which is new to me, this home-grown software is pretty darn good. We are talking big database stuff. Apparently some of our competition is still usiing COBOL (like Y2K never happened).

> 2. How much goodwill of his or her colleagues is your boss willing to
> sacrifice? How much resistance will a poor product create to other
> procedural changes, or other attempts to improve process with new
> software?

My department has, um, image problems as it is. Plus, the company was bought and my department is really the only one interacting with the new kids so...we get it from all sides. That is one of the reasons I am here, they have never had a tech writer. Hoping to contribute somewhat to adding goodwill.

> 3. If upper management request changes to the application, how much is
> your boss' project plan going to be disrupted by having to factor in new
> development time? Given that post-release changes are more expensive
> than alpha-stage improvements by a large factor, how happy will the
> organization be if these changes cause the project to go over-budget?

We are hiring and training and new developers and trying to get on board with a development process. There is some resistance from the old guard, as you can imagine.

> If your boss is willing to endure these costs, or the nature of the
> organization is such that any of these costs would just be accepted with
> a shrug, my fourth question is: Are you going to stand for this?

Absolutely. I lost a good job because I stood for what I was doing and my feelings about my role and their perception of it...and so in these tough economic times I will stand for it. I agree with you for the most party, Jimmy. The good news is, the product manager wants to talk about a better approach and I think it behooves me to come up with some suggestions before that talk.

Thanks for your feedback, everybody. And Happy New Year ;^)
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Re: User friendly is what you get used to: From: jimmy

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