A few weeks ago, a client said to me, “You’re all kind of like therapists for us. You ask us some questions and all of this stuff pours out.”
That wasn’t the first time a client has said something along those lines to me. It happens often. Crafting successful software is just as much about people as it is technology. Projects always begin and end with people.
When we are hired, a person is putting their faith in our hands.
When we conduct our discovery, we do it by interviewing people, and researching their behavior.
When we design a system, we are designing it for the people who will use it.
When we write code, we write and document it so that people can improve upon it.
At Phase2 we not only craft software, but build the partnerships that are necessary for solutions that create real value. We can’t do the amazing things that our clients do, like bring clothing lines to market, treat cancer, or coordinate massive humanitarian efforts. The key is for us to mix our amazing abilities with our clients’.
What we’re striving for is a symbiotic relationship. We do what our clients can’t, and our clients inform our work with their intimate knowledge and experience of their business. With our client’s knowledge, and our understanding of design and technology, together we can paint a target, so that we can hit the mark.
Over the course of a project we’re going to teach each other a lot. We’re also going to uncover some things that haven’t seen the light of day in a while. Think of it as therapy.
Better Living Through Corporate Therapy
Building software that is critical to a company’s day-to-day operation requires a deep understanding of what is happening in that company across multiple departments.
When we dig into a project we start asking lots of questions to lots of different people. A funny thing happens when you ask a group of people who work on the same problem from different angles about what they do. They all have dramatically different perspectives on the task at hand. They all see what they are doing differently, and they see one another’s approach in strikingly different ways. This is where we get to the heart of what we’re building.
Suddenly we have these brilliant and talented people who rarely speak to one another talking shop. If we ask the right questions, then all of their successes, challenges, and everything in between come rushing out.
This intimate, and honest knowledge of our client’s process is what we need to understand so that we can build the best solution possible. When we sit down together it can start feeling like a group therapy session as we ask questions such as:
What do you do?
Why do you do it?
Why do you do it the way you do it?
What’s the best part of your job?
What’s the worst part of your job?
If we can understand these answers from multiple perspectives, then we’re going to build an empathic bond that will elevate the quality of our work.
Set a Course for Collaboration
We’re not getting you talking for your health (although you will feel better). We need to understand what you really do, and how you actually do it. We are trying to design the system you need. In order for us to do that, we’re going to have to work with you, not just for you.
When you sit down with us, open up. We’re here to help. Go ahead and be vulnerable.
Cartoon by Joey Groh, Senior Designer.