About the Post

Author Information

I'm a founder of TaskBeat - the productivity application for connected enterprise. Personally I'm trying to reconcile entrepreneur, manager and engineer in one bio.

Mistake of focusing on managing perceptions

Many managers fall into mistake of focusing on managing perceptions. Complicated software delivery process leaves a lot of time to produce awful lot of documentation. As a result a simple change can “yield” several different drafts that can be distributed to many people in the organisation. This is creating perception of more attention and better design being invested towards delivering better software. In practice managing internal company perceptions puts the focal point wrong. It also puts a lot of strain on limited resources and almost always compromises amount of time left for iterating the experience of software that is of interest of actual end-users.

This error in judgment is particularly dominant in multi-hierarchical organisations where end-users and their opinions about software are somewhat insulated from development teams. This is also very common in non-engineering companies where there’s little focus on the software solutions aspect of any problems at hand. In both cases this thinking is dominant in all places where there’s a gap between users and project sponsors. More often than not in such organisations client satisfaction is not even built into project success criteria and gets replaced with measuring internal perceived satisfaction of how software is built.

The concept of managing perceptions upstream is flawed as clients (or end-users) will eventually voice their opinions downstream as in Internet era it is easier for them to take matters in their own hands and as markets get denser and each industry gets saturated with many interchangeable solutions. Somewhere out there there there’s always a development team working on a better solution and whoever comes up with a solution that is worth recommending by the actual user base quickly becomes known in the industry. The reputation circle of even the biggest companies will move from managing perceptions in meeting rooms towards perceptions of end-users being very open in public. All design-centric solutions carefully crafted in meeting rooms to satisfy perceptions of management are confronted by perceptions of consumers which are increasingly visible.

The whole concept of agile is to shift the focus from getting the documentation and process right to: getting the end-user experience right.

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.