Configuring Software to Our Workflow

This entry is part 13 of 18 in the series Interview Tom Marine Gets Right Upfront


MM: So take us through how you begin to develop a visual depiction of Sally’s engagement with the workflow vis-à-vis an online get-it-right-upfront workflow process.

TM: One of the things that we did that we felt was very important was—and this was typical with all the vendors that we talked to—they wanted to do their training based on their features of the software. Is this where you’re headed? Is this what you were thinking about wanting to get at?

MM: Yes.

TM: The classic analogy is this. Let’s say you’re working in Microsoft Excel. Somebody tells you they want you to write a formula.

Well, how are you going to write that formula? You could type it in. You could click on cells. You could do one of their automated things. There are probably about eight different ways you can write a formula in Excel. Well, with these database-publishing solutions, there are probably about eight different ways you could create a product manager’s role.

But what we did was—we had a core team. We learned the features. We said, “Okay. We’re going to populate the database. We’re going to have our information in there. We’re then going to create a training manual using our information, based on what we feel the optimal way to use that system is.

That’s what we trained on.

MM: So, before you actually configure the software—much less buy the software—you create a training module for an operator.

TM: Right.

MM: In this training module, you described the performance of that job—the job function within work cell. You described that work cell as a trainable, repeatable process…

TM: Absolutely.

MM: In the course of doing that, you documented for Sally what her job looks like—and using the training manual to really mock up the user experience.

TM: And making it real for her. Because when she’s looking at the data and the examples in the screenshots, it has information that she’s familiar with.

MM: So this also then entails you mocking up screenshots, because that’s what you would need in the training manual. Is that right?

TM: Correct.

MM: So in essence, what you did was to design at the level of business process, workflow and accountability. You defined the user experience not just as screenshots, but also as a user manual.

TM: Yes.


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