Does anyone else have moments where they become so involved with their thought processes that they completely lose track of reality? As in you’re dialed in to the point that once you snap out of this state, you have no idea where time has gone and your brain feels like an stressed circuit that’s about to croak unless you go lie down for a while?
Today was one of those days for me. I’m fixing a workflow issue by aligning 4 major groups / committees and the information that they need to track into one process, one workflow, and all processed digitally with secure tracking and digital signatures. I know, it doesn’t sound like much to those with a computer science background, and you’re right. In fact the most difficult part is the foundation / groundwork of ensuring that I am compiling and designing the forms and processes so that they not only gather all the data necessary, but that they are simple and entirely user friendly. Design is everything!
Why do I say this? To increase adoption rates.
My philosophy is to design a product that is intuitive enough that I could walk away from it and new users can easily learn how to use the product on their own. Making a terrific user guide / manual is also always a must, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for quality design for the actual product. A great test that I also use is my 8-80 rule, in which I ask myself “If I were to give this to my extended family, would both the 8 year olds and the 80 year olds be able to use this after only one 5 minute tutorial and if necessary, reading the user manual (on their own) for no more than 10 minutes?” If the answers to either of these questions is “No”, then I know there are still plenty of improvement iterations that I need to perform.
Earlier this year, I designed the initial version of this process, but it was truly just a beta development in order to have a functional process that could be up and running. It wasn’t what I wanted or envisioned, but it worked. Now, I can work in the background to build version 2.0 that will not only enhance the experience for the stakeholders, but will also greatly simplify the back-end support that way I can train almost any employee to run and maintain the system while I am away.
I met last week with almost all of the stakeholders in this process to gather their thoughts on what improvements needed to be made to this update/ iteration. Today was all about taking the various parts and making them not only a part of the system, but flow and interact in a logical way. While I was wrestling with the workflow, my body stepped out for lunch, but my brain did not. Even though I ate with friends, I don’t remember much of the conversations at all because I was so fixated on troubleshooting and the possibilities for enhancing this process. In fact I raced back to my office to delve right back into it. When I had my Eureka moment, the time flew by that when I did look up at the clock, I was late to a quick meeting (luckily the other member had a flexible schedule and I was easily able to assist them within 5 minutes). I then kept crunching away until it was time to go home, in which I literally walked in my place, went straight to my bed, and slept for an hour to recuperate.
What’s the point here? The day flew by for me, and I feel as though I made major progress on the development. If you were to take my current product and asked other employees at my location to replicate what I did in the same amount of time, I don’t know of anyone that could have done that. Yes, they could’ve come close after maybe 1-2 days of working on it, but building the behind the scenes layers of conditional programming (IFTTT) would have been a challenge for almost all.
Days like today are prime examples of why I believe time worked is not on its own an adequate form of measurement to determine pay rates. Too often I hear companies only concerned about how many hours employees worked in a week (“Are they working their full 40 hours? Are we paying them overtime?”), as opposed to the progress and production the employees exhibit. This drives me up the wall!! If someone is able to produce at 2xs the rate of the average employee, why should they be required to work the same number of hours every week at the same pay rate? Why do some companies still pay all of their employees solely based upon years worked (a.k.a. years of experience or years of service) as opposed to each individual’s skillsets, productivity, and talent that they exhibit?
Those are the parting question of the day. Have thoughts on this? Comment below or shoot me a tweet!