Jennifer from Operations
Apr 09, 2008 09:30

It has been my experience in building business software that everything is straightforward, except for that one step that's done manually by 'Jennifer in Operations' and if you sit with Jennifer in Operations, it turns out that she's handing a lot of ad hoc requirements without an easy way to formalize them.

        At that point, you can either <ol><li>change the entire workflow so that it fits with the software (risky, but if you know the domain super-well it might work - I gather SAP does this a lot)</li><li>spend months figuring out all of the subtleties and exceptional cases handled by Jennifer in Operations (which leads to very very complex software that may completely break if they get a new shipper or the tax rate changes - and might also lead to Jennifer, who is clearly the smartest person in the organization, losing her job since she's no longer required)</li><li>Automate as much as can be automated readily, but leave space for Jennifer from Operations to do her thing - even better, set things up in various ways  (custom reports, special 'fix it' buttons, etc.) to make her specific job easier</li></ol>  That last approach has a few additional advantages: you're not reorganizing the whole company (which doesn't tend to work), the software can avoid the hundred-and-one exceptional cases that Jennifer from Operations has in her head, and she gets to keep her job - in fact, she's made even more productive, and maybe the people higher up might eventually notice the good work she's doing.
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Apr 07, 2008 10:25
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Apr 13, 2008 23:41
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