Monday, 15 March 2010

What Problem are we solving here?

A few years ago when a developer was requested to build a feature or a module he would be worried about the content of the document that came in to him as Requirement Specification document. Things changed… with the running market he started worrying about the time, scope and quality of the feature. Are we moving so fast that now the developer’s have to worry about the eligibility of the feature? Yes indeed… I was asked a question 2 times once by my 6 year old when I was trying to fix his pedal scooter and next by a developer who was about to work on one of the important features in the Product that I am working on.

The question was simple “What are we trying to solve here?” Answer most complex…When @aranhas07 started working on his product for Social Intuition, He had a problem each one of us face in the social world in mind… but when I look back and forth I see tones of products made every day making news on @Scobleizer and @Techmeme or @mashable I don’t really understand if they really are there to Solve a problem or to create one?

Do we answer this question before we start working on something important or so called important thing? Well the answer is NO it is thought but perceptional.. Yes one entity’s perception make him think that this is a problem and then a solution is designed around it... In process others really miss what is much needed or required... We spend millions and millions solving a problem which actually is not a problem…

Talk about the Iraq war (No WMD’s were ever recovered) or talk about the appointment of a bowling coach that got Indian team in a big mess a while ago. As Managers we always plan a lot of work.. but in process we plan work that comes through perseverance or perception. You let your teams spent millions and years on something that probably is not a problem but you are trying to solve it.

Once a sales consultant for a leading product made a big comment on the salability of a product saying since this product doesn’t allow robustness in letting multiple users connect to the system at the same time this product needs a big change as all the customers are asking for the said feature… The team went on creating a plan and effort and finally spent millions before a new developer got in and who asked... why are we building all of this? Can we not make the login web driven and leave other things on the rich interface? A management review was done and solution brutualized…

Next time when you begin to spend your important time on something don’t hesitate to ask these questions to yourself, your stake holders, your Managers, your CEO’s... For one thing can come out of it that they may not know what problem they are trying to solve…

The next few questions can actually help you work towards a solution than an issue..
1. What is the Problem?
2. Who faces it?
3. What are the workarounds?
4. What are the options available?
5. What can we do to make the solution generic?
6. Is the cost worth building a solution?
7. What are various options in the solutions?