Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Faster Horse or Car

Henry Ford, after "invented" the car and the process around it was asked if he asked around for what his customers want - in other words did a market research? He said, "If I would have asked them, they would have asked for faster horse, not car!"

A lot of organizations with their razor sharp focus on their stakeholders requirements get into what I call a "faster horse" trap, where they just end up building a better version of what their stakeholders have used/already been using. What's more. at times, it backfires and "faster horse" ends up being "pooped horse".

Then there is other side of the spectrum where data rules and whatever stakeholder wants in as a requirement, she has to substantiate with data. Sounds great and works great (most of the time). It becomes an Achilles heel when there is no data to substantiate a requirement, an ambitious requirement  which needs people to be intuitive and only people who have gone through the grind, have used the product and understand the pain of user/customer.

The need is to balance data with intuition - balance requirement with wish-lists where imaginations no hold bar. Blinded by either one of those, at the end of the day would give you a "faster horse".

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