Another moment of fury

Back at work. This time my fury was inspired by Jack. He has been occasionally closeted with GandD over the last couple of months, and today he was demonstrating his cool new stuff.

Cool it may have been, but only in the sense of an approaching iceberg. We (in theory) have until the end of January to finish and test the latest release. Three weeks, loads of time isn’t it? That could be my new nickname for Jack “Loadsatime”.

For reasons best known to himself and GandD, they didn’t want, well, anyone with experience of users, such as myself, training or support, to comment (or even know about) the new features until they were properly implemented. So this was the gleaming remove the drapery moment; cut the red ribbon and reveal the glorious finished product.

Except, is there a way of putting this tactfully? Except there is no point in asking for feedback on a finished product unless the only feedback you want is “Isn’t it mahvellous dahling”.

What is that there for? Oh, I thought it might be a good idea. Do users need it? I don’t know. Is that very important bit that users might actually want to use easy to find? Well, it’s obviously really easy, you just open this dialog and find that button and then set this option…. You can imagine the rest. And, given the fact that there is three weeks left, they aren’t going to change anything at this stage, are they?

Admittedly, he did have three cast-iron and valid excuses
1. Gavin wanted it like that
2. David wanted it like that
3. It would have taken months to implement in a sensible way.

Well, maybe excuse no. 3 isn’t that valid, because it hinges on that big elephant in the sitting room, well, not merely an elephant in the sitting-room, there’s a volcano in the bathtub, a hyena in the kitchen, and fourteen zombies locked into the attic bedroom.

And they’re all asking the big question?
How are priorities set?

Loadsatime Jack can’t set them, because he does what GandD ask him to do. They have a difficult call to make.

First, they have limited development resource.
Second, they need to use it in a way that brings in returns

Some things, such as re-writing the whole thing from scratch, just ain’t going to happen. Not unless we get a massive injection of cash from some venture capitalists. And GandD wouldn’t sell their company unless it was sinking.

How can I persuade them that a project that is easier to use may be more worth having than one with more features?
How can I demand that a lot of that limited development resource is spent on making existing stuff better, rather than adding new stuff. At the moment I can’t think.
But perhaps I could persuade them that involving the idea of the user earlier in the process would be a good plan. Before they decide which features go in, even. At the moment though, I think I’ll just go out for a long walk and avoid the undead for tonight.