Hopefully I'll see a few of you in a few days at our inaugural independent Graphical Developer Conference (GDevCon#1). This little article pulls together something that occurred to me when in discussion about how we work after giving my Lean LabVIEW presentation. It also is evident when observing some other companies at work.
What is this magic formula? It's that we get involved, stuck in, we roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
Here's a case study....
For our maritime work, we're in the engine room, poking around all the transducers, seeing how it all fits together. Our competitors seem to be more at ease, sat in their offices producing code. The trouble is that you can only truly design to a customers requirements if you understand your customer.
Leading on from this is the serious matter with regard to software projects, you don't really know what the customer wants until you show them what you have developed. This is why you'll get a flood of new requirements as soon as the customer lays hands on your systems. There's no point in fighting it, it's just life.
The only defence to the above situation is to understand your customer, and sorry introverts, this involves leaving the comfort of your desk and talking to them.
By Holistic I mean you have to understand all about your customer, their pressures and interests. Who the user is and what it is they fear and appreciate. You also need to understand the technicalities of the job, often we end up as the domain experts.
Good design relies on this easy transfer of information and when projects go wrong you can almost always track it down to isolated geniuses in rooms, too comfortable to go talk.
Finally, I think this is a much better way to work, leave you desk, make some new friends, have some shared experiences with them.
Or go back to your documents, gantt charts and unit tests, it's quiet and warm in your office......
Here's me visiting my customer in Albuquerque, could have been done by Skype or TeamViewer. But friendships have been formed and trust has been earnt. It's quite valuable........and fun!