Tuesday, August 27, 2013

People and Process First!

   I've been reading, and hearing, lately about the ideas of client-centric or human-centric IT.  Here's a cool article and interactive infographic from GovLoop.com.  It describes a roadmap approach to get to a people-centric approach while showing examples of what some US federal agencies are doing to advance the cause.

   I like infographics!  They are fun, impactful, and this is a good one.  But, sometimes they are so busy that the simplest parts of the message gets obscured.

   It's not just infographics that obscure simple ideas.  Security and IT are experts at over-complicating things.  We get so caught up in the cool tools that we sometimes miss the main point.

   In the Security and IT world, we should always look at any project or program through the lenses of:
  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Technology
   And definitely in that order!

   The problem is, even when they try this approach, Security and IT constantly slip back to technology first.  I get that.  Most of us in tech management started life as technologists.  It makes sense.  And tech decisions do have implications both to process and to the users.  But in this day of pervasive technology, mobile, IT consumerization and digital natives, we need to remind ourselves to focus on the people first.

   Here's what client-centric or human-centric means to me.
  • Why - it starts with "Why".  Why does/should this project or service exist?  For that matter, why does our organization do what it does?  I've talked about that before.
  • Who - who is going to use, or who will benefit from, this {service, device, application, etc.}?  What kind of experience do we want for this consumer?  Will it be fun, informative, easy, life-saving?
  • How - how (and when and where) will this {service, device, application, etc.} be consumed?  How will a consumer navigate?  This includes usability and accessibility.
  • What - what is being created?
    The Why, Who and How are all about the person.  To really be client-centric, you need to ask yourself, and your team, the questions above and then embrace and implement the answers.  I think it's also important to revisit these questions regularly during a project, particularly when there are issues or decision points.

   I think most people can think of projects that were purely tech-driven.  Or projects that were trying to focus on the end user but ended up providing a poor experience.  How might these have been different if the focus was human-centric?

   What does human-centric or client-centric mean to you?  How can you bring these ideas to your organization?

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