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Expectations of owners and users

Zulfikar Deen  on “Expectations of owners and users”. The video is at the end of this blog)

Let’s start from an end user. For end-users the solution makes their job easier, more productive and efficient. Any solution which gets delivered to them, they expect them to work hundred percent, there is no full thought process of DevOps and my side of the view here. I can’t have half-baked or DevOps. I got something working for you , let me know how it works, then I will build it better for you, these half -baked  doesn’t work for me. When the solution goes to my end user, it has to be working hundred percent. If there are 10 features that have been planned and if three of them are working, then all the three features must work hundred percent. That’s an expectation.

Secondly, the end users are expecting  and treating the whole solution as a black box, they don’t differentiate whether it’s an application, it’s a front end, it is a network or  it is a backup. If it doesn’t work, it’s of no use. We need to ensure that the whole solution looks at everything and one can’t have a siloed view that it’s my solution.  For example if we are rolling out a partner solution to our end user or to an internal built solution, if it doesn’t work then even if the reason is not related to the application the users would still say this application did not work.  It’s the responsibility of the whole system to ensure that this whole thing is tested properly and taken a holistic view. 

As an IT organizationor or  as a CIO organization when the  partners are dealing with us, they cannot treat IT organization as their customer because we are not their customers. We and the partner together are servicing our business so they need to co-ordinate and work very well with us to meet the expectations of my business users. Often they make a mistake treating IT organization as a customer. We are not their customers. We are  working on behalf of them taking their solution to the end users. Hence, partners need to support us and empathize with our team.

From the business any system that  is rolled out, it has to have value in some form. Whether its improvement in clinical quality or reduction in my operation cost or make my people more productive, There has to be some associated business benefit. 

The problem before and after is , before we take up solution to business, I should be able to prove or I should be able to at least articulate along with the partners how this will help the business in those parameters whether it is clinical quality or compliance.If  it is compliance, It is critical.GST it has to be there, there’s no other choice. It could be compliance or clinical quality or operation efficiency or revenue.I need to be able to prove it is helpful to the business and the system should have the mechanism to show matrix around this.Many times, that’s a key piece we miss in many software.The matrix of the system, whether it is in terms of adoption, in terms of usage, in terms of usability in terms of business metrics. All the matrix should be bid to the system. 

When putting the system in place, when my business asks the questions such as how are we doing? what is our ROI in the last one year? Here, I shouldn’t be scrambling that I got the system in place and people are using but what’s happening is not known . If I can’t figure out or produce some reports to figure out how the system is being used. It’s of no use.  Such aspects need to be baked in the system. What’s my adoption level? What’s my business metrics? they need to be part of the system. So for the end users it is about the solution. For the business users it’s about the adoption and the business metrics out of it.

Efficiency -> Productivity -> Creativity

T Ashok @ash_thiru  on Twitter


Efficiency is a given now , high productivity aided by intelligent systems will become a norm, so what is our role?  In this age of automated & continuous testing, efficiency gains are given and productivity is on the increase. In this era of AI systems, it is time we shift from productivity to creativity. 

Over the years there has been an interesting shift in how we engineer software. Starting with emphasis on process systems in the 90s to ensure consistency and repeatability, we moved on to enhancing efficiencies with tools and Agile processes. Now the focus has shifted to productivity and value by fostering re-use(components, libraries, patterns, frameworks etc), cross-functional teams and more recently, using AI systems.

Efficiency is a given now, high productivity aided by intelligent systems will become a norm, so what is our role? The future is about creativity, a lot of people say. 

In testing with extreme focus on automated & continuous testing, efficiency gains are given and productivity is on the increase. With systems built using multiple frameworks, deployed in various environments, with high business criticality, high expectations of users, the demand of future demands tech savviness and serious creativity – ‘SmartQA , that implies how to get work done efficiently with value focus driven from creative angle’. 

Here is a short summary from two interesting articles on the Efficiency -> Productivity -> Creativity shift.

Focus on productivity, not efficiency

In the article Focus on productivity, not efficiency   Aytekin Tank says Ford reduced the manufacturing time of car from 12 hours to 2.5 hours by improving efficiency, breaking the company’s Model T automobile assembly into 84 distinct steps, with a worker specialising in a task and using power-driven machinery to do the work.

The tide changed in 2015 from being focused on productivity over efficiency. Efficiency is about doing more with less whereas productivity is about doing more with the same.

He then shares four tips on how to lead an organisation with productivity:

1. Team productivity > individual efficiency – Cross-functional teams work on one project at a time.
2. Get out of the way – Stop interrupting  the workflow of team members with meetings that don’t necessarily require their presence.
3. Maximize your MVPs – Do not box talented individuals placed in organizational roles that limit their effectiveness.
4. Lose the “more is better” mentality – Focus on impact not staying busy

Creativity is the new productivity

In the age of A.I and machine learning, just being more productive won’t cut it. The future belongs to the creatives says Scott Belsky in the article Creativity Is the New Productivity.

In his picture of Human Productivity Parabola , he says we have now passed the point — call it the “Productivity-Creativity Inversion” — where machines (algorithms, robots, etc.) have become a better investment for future productivity gains than humans. At this point, we as humans are better off spending our energy on creativity than on productivity.

From Creativity Is the New Productivity

Productivity, previously scarce and valuable, is now abundant and commoditized, and hence we need to creativity, a truly scarce resource whose value is on the rise, he says. He depicts this as a picture consisting of three phases – The Era of Productivity Scarcity, The Era of Productivity Abundance, and The Era of Creativity.

From Creativity Is the New Productivity

He continues on to state that AI will liberate creativity, by allowing machines to take over the mundane tasks, enabling us to be more creative.