User Focused Software Development: Helping Clients Help Themselves

Jennifer Glen
So you've delivered your project on time and under budget. Congratulations! In most circumstances, this is considered an unequivocal success. But before the celebration begins, take some time to consider whether the project is a success in the eyes of the end users, who may be your clients (or a few levels removed from your client).

Here's a typical problem scenario: You deliver a project on time, on budget and to specification. End users don't adopt the project. The project is perceived as a failure by your client, and your team is forever linked with that failure in their minds. Such a scenario can cause short- and long-term fallout for your project team, including a loss of client confidence, a decline in your team's reputation and possibly termination of the relationship with the client.

Being a good software development team means understanding, analyzing and translating requirements into useful technology. It may even mean unearthing those requirements from a messy complex of history, politics and other unknown perils lurking amongst your client project stakeholders. Here are two chances to learn from my team's experience.

Beware the siren call of cool technology
I recently spent more than a year on a project team responsible for the development of a very specialized business-to-business application. The client team consisted of a group of very educated, highly trained…

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