Friday, October 05, 2012

Agile won’t deliver great product– its the people

If some one is embracing Agile methodology with the assumption that they can build a great product, I strongly recommend that they revisit their plan. Great products can’t be built using a good process but by having on board skilled people. 

I am going to share some real world examples of a few poorly built products around, and will explain why Scrum, XP or Kanban can’t help, but good UI designers, architects or Product Owners can.

Error message or confirmation ?

Recently I updated some info on a website, and upon submitting the data I received the message shown in the red box in the screen shot below. I am so used to seeing the standard error message in the red box and not a success message. Having a good Product owner(PO) and a User Interface (UI) designer could have helped here in formulating the market standards of displaying the message.


Need help in switching on my washing machine

imageWhile I was in Auckland recently on vacation, the serviced apartment I stayed had this washing machine. I never thought that switching on a washing machine is so difficult until I used the one similar to the one shown above. The machine not only had so many knobs, but also the textual info on the left side added a lot to the confusion.I tried all combinations of configuring the knobs and pressed the “Power on” button, but couldn’t start it. I called the reception for help, and the gentlemen who turned up advised me not to worry about the options, and use only the standard setting that works on this machine.Curiously I asked few more questions, and he said,no one knows in the hotel how the knobs work as it confused them all. So, they have learnt only one combination that works. 

Again, Lean/Agile or Kanban couldn’t have helped this company to manufacture user friendly washing machine but a good PO, UI designer could have.The PO could have taken the feedback from the real users while approving the design.

Infamous Yahoo attachment problem

The fundamental feature of any email client should be to enable users to attach files to the emails. As many Yahoo email users know, people will go through anxiety attacks when it comes to attaching files to yahoo emails. This is not a new issue, thousands of users across the globe are facing this issue since 2003 – 2004. Does a large company like Yahoo need 8 years and more to fix this problem.  I don’t think Lean, Scrum or Kanban will help Yahoo here,  but a good Product owner and an architect can. 
I think the product owners responsibility shouldn’t stop only till the product is deployed to production, but  should continue post production. PO should monitor the product usage, and incorporate the customers feedback.

1 comment:

Alana Baldwin said...

Great piece of work. But the problem lies not in using Scrum, Agile or XP or Lean. The gap is in understanding customer perceptions/expectations and defining them in terms of product features. If this is handled with accuracy by the PO and the PD's then whatever the production process they may use, the end product will be with minimum errors. But yes, you need right people (skilled)at right time. You may like this post on benifits of Agile