Don Burnside

Recipes, technology, personal stuff and a crap load of archives.

Use What You Make

One of my current passions is hating my day job. It’s life sucking and dead end. I only tell you this for reference for the remainder of the post. I’m seeking help, don’t worry.

One of the reasons is a product that the company I work for sells, and one that I have to support. And, the pieces that tie into or make that product work that we also sell. And it’s all rubbish.

It’s geared at retail operations. Actual brick and mortar stores with cash registers and all that goes along with that. But there is a very serious disconnect between the company that I work for and it’s customers.

Nobody in the company that I work for has ever worked retail. Also, no one in the company that I work for or any of the company that I work for’s partners have had to use the product that we sell.

You see gang, in the land of POS, It Just Works isn’t just a saying. It’s one of those things that has to be true 99.5% of the time. Retail and hospitality rely heavily on the point of sales systems that are installed in their business’s to collect money, track sales and costs, historical data for projections and scheduling and many other business critical operations. It’s important stuff, usually extraordinarily time sensitive as well. Which is why It Just Works has to be true, 99.5% of the time.

The system that the company I work for does not meet this criteria. It fails, spectacularly. And when it does fail, fixes take hours of manual correction or days/weeks/months of correction by development.

I’m convinced that it is because the company that I work for employs people that don’t have any industry experience. I believe the vendors and partners that the company I work for has, also, suffers the same fate. And, once the product is created, no one that took part in it’s creation has to use it, ever, or even support it on the front lines.

The short version is, if you are going to take the time to make something, be sure to take the time to use the thing you made, talk to your intended users to find out how they plan to use what you have made. Then, try to use it the way they are. Helpful too if you have some background in the area for which your creation will be used. If not, surround yourself with those who not only have experience in that area, but have passion for that area as well.

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