Begin With The User

Ingo Jospeh

Delivering on Digital by Willam Eggers. I’m going through the book right now so expect me to mention the book a lot over the next few week.

This latest note is based on a single line in the book:

Rethinking and reimagining service delivery should always begin with the user rather than the existing program.

Let’s face it, that statement throws a lot of what we do under the bus as it completely changes how we approach things. First of all, what is service delivery?

Service Delivery is the management of the IT services themselves, and involves a number of management practices to ensure that IT services are provided as agreed between the Service Provider and the Customer.

Are you providing application delivery services? IT infrastructure services? Architecture services? User experience services? There are a ton of services that can be classified as IT services and all of them up for rethinking and reimagining as IT changes. Not in ten-year sprints, but almost yearly. And when you think of these services what should you be doing?

Begin with the user.

Yes, we need to “do more with less”. That mantra has been in existence for so long that it has become cliched and meaningless. I mean, can you imagine someone coming up to you and saying “Guess what, we’re going to give you more and expect less”? No? Neither can I. But if your definition of “doing more with less” involves giving the users something they don’t want, why do it? When you are in the process of rethinking IT services, when you are trying to reimagine where these services need to be, remember one thing:

Begin with the user.

If you’re looking at how an application can evolve in the next few years, look at it from the perspective of the user. I’ve seen applications built by IT people for IT people and they are amongst the ugliest apps on the face of the earth. Yes, they do the job. Yes, they do it efficiently. But they are about as pleasant to use as performing dental surgery on yourself.

When Microsoft built Azure they looked at the management tools from an end user perspective. Need to get a server built? They guide you down a path you need to follow to get your server built. The end result? A happy user and a server ready in minutes.

PSS is working on building a number of different facilities designed to make it easier for product teams to get their job done. Wherever possible we are going to automate the task. And not just the pieces necessary to get your application deployed, but operational tasks as well. And while we’re at it, we’re going to make it multi-ministry friendly.

Begin with the user.

It doesn’t matter what part of IT you belong to, you should always be thinking of the user and not yourself.

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