— 7 July 2003 —

I admit to being a

I admit to being a little surprised by the lack of interest in my first topic on SVN.

My ideas as to why, so far, are:

1) The people who read the topics and respond on SVN work primarily on small Web sites (information-based, not so much on the Application side of things).
2) They work for small companies, and therefore they have a more flexible working environment.
3) They are primarily contract workers and the companies with which they work do not require any documentation other than (perhaps) UI Specs.
4) My company is just so damn huge that the level of documentation and all the review processes are necessary.

All, some, or parts of the above may be true. It just seems strange to me that a couple of people said, “huh,” to the idea of Future Task Analysis. Here it is a given that it will be done on a project. Well, a project that is introducing enough new functionality to warrant it.

Does it only take a good understanding of user and business requirements, coupled with a decent designer who has a good, working understanding of usability?

When people from my company go to conferences, it seems so clear that we are about 5 years ahead of the curve with the way we work. Most companies struggle to get UCD as part of the project/product methodology. From my experience, even Microsoft and IBM have difficulty with this.

But, perhaps we have made the process too complex. Where does that line get drawn? Build the right product the first time, and add functionality as you go, or build a good enough product at first, then fix it and add functionality as you go.

I was talking with someone who works at Intuit as few weeks ago. She said that the company brought someone in (I forget who, but he is at the CxO level) whose first statement to the company was, “We will ship products with zero defects.” My first thought was that they will never ship anything, or at least their product life cycle will elongate. But would it really be that bad to ship without defects?

I guess I need to think more about this issue. Where does the line get drawn?

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