Last weekend I read a wonderful article on Copyblogger.com about warning signs that your blog content sucks. Although I don’t write about blogging, the question did trigger me to think about this principle for our industry.
Does my IWMS Suck?
A very intriguing question.
Jonathan Morrow at Copyblogger wrote:
“There aren’t any rules, no, but there are warnings. If your content (read: IWMS) sucks, you’ll see dozens, maybe hundreds of telltale signs, hinting that something is wrong. I’ve collected 10 of the most common here. Take a look through them, and see if any describe you.”
This inspired me to compose the list below of 10 Warning Signs that your IWMS sucks.
(By the way, the maddening about this list is that it applies to many of the software vendors out there as well. ;-))
1. You have no idea what keeps your users up at night
What are your IWMS users’ problems, thoughts and dreams? Do they absolutely need that monthly report for their managers? Is that worrying them? Or don’t you know?
Let’s face it. The users of your IWMS don’t care about you. They care about them. The IWMS should first of all solve problems in their daily business. Problems that will keep them up at night.
By not supporting this, or even worse not knowing this, you are preparing for failure.
2. You think that other users like the IWMS as much as you do
Project sponsors, project team members, and other stakeholders that have been involved in the selection or implementation of the IWMS, have fallen in love with the IWMS.
Unfortunately, love is blind which makes those individuals not receptive for valid improvements. They just don’t want to hear anything negative about the IWMS.
Other users haven’t fallen in love with the IWMS (yet). They don’t care as much for the IWMS as you do, because they care about their lives. If the software can improve their lives, then you might have chance they will fall in love with it too.
3. You think that users are just plain stupid
They are not.
The real benefits of an IWMS start to emerge when it is widely used throughout your organization. This also includes people with less experience in using IWMS technology. Stupid can never be a characterization of these people. If they don’t understand or use the IWMS in the way it’s been intended, train them to do so.
4. Good is ‘good enough’
How would you rate your IWMS overall on a scale of 10? Perhaps a 6, or 7? And per process? An IWMS is a system of processes.
The problem with being overall ‘good enough’ doesn’t say anything about the individual processes.
By merely supporting most parts of a process you are wasting your time. Don’t implement any process it unless you can cover the entire process.
5. You believe that technology is the secret to a successful IWMS
Technology is just a means to an end, but never a goal in itself.
In every software solution technology plays an important role, however it should always be serving business goals. In fact, the more you will focus on technology, the more likely your IWMS is going to suck.
Note for software vendors:
Customers don’t love technology as much as you do. They don’t care about technology, nor do they care about you. They care about themselves.
So when you are developing the next wonderful interface, another technological awesome feature, ask yourself the following question:
How does this …..1 improve the life of a …..2
(1 feature, interface, script, web service, layout, etc.)
(2 real estate manager, service desk employee, contractor, etc.)
6. You don’t know the benefit
Why should anyone use the IWMS if it doesn’t generate measurable results? And more important, what are those measurable results?
Honestly, if you haven’t thought about this, you should do your homework better.
What will stakeholders achieve with your IWMS? Will they reduce operational costs with more than a million dollars? Will the user save 3 minutes per trouble ticket?
Make sure that you have quantified those results, and measure performance against it.
7. Your IWMS is everything to everyone
There is no solution for everything. At least, not one single solution. Although many processes can be integrated in a single database, a single IWMS can’t do everything you want.
And that’s OK.
The more you want the IWMS to be everything for everyone, the more likely your IWMS is going to suck.
Pick your key processes, assign priorities, and start.
8. You never talk to a user of your IWMS
Just because you are involved in the procurement of the IWMS, or the implementation team of the IWMS doesn’t mean you know it all.
In fact, the more you work with a particular system, the less receptive you are for user problems with your IWMS.
I would strongly advice frequent meetings with NON-EXPERIENCED users instead of key users. Most likely, they can provide you with far more information about the user-friendliness and daily problems, than their experienced counterparts can.
9. You never receive fan mail
If you provide a solution that improves people’s lives, they will definitively express their gratitude. If you never receive any fan mail, read point 1 and 5 of this list. I have attached an example that might inspire you…
Dear Mr/Mrs IWMS,
Thank you so much for all the joy your fantastic software has brought to my life. My boss was totally ecstatic about the latest occupancy report that I was able to pull from the software. “This report will save thousands of dollars for our organization”, my boss said.
What’s more he recommended my excellent qualities to other senior staff!
10. You never receive hate mail
If you have never received hate mail, something is wrong.
Not everyone can agree with what you do, nor should they.
Their complaints indicate that they care, and in most cases people that complain make valid points which could prove be very valuable for you.
I have again attached an example that might inspire you.
Dear Mr/Mrs IWMS,
Thank you so much for all the misery your crap software has brought to my life! My boss was totally frustrated about the latest occupancy report that I wasn’t able to pull from the software. “I can’t believe you can’t pull up a report with a single click”, my boss said.
What’s more, I now need to make a list of everything I do for him!
Although the feedback isn’t positive, it can still help you improve your reporting training.
There you go. My list of 10 Warning Signs That Your IWMS Sucks. Please feel free to share this list with the entire world as it is not only applicable to IWMS Software, but also to CMMS, EAM, FMIS, ERP, CRM and all other software solutions out there.