Continuing our theme of Frog Software Design Principles (First Post):
Our software is used by more than 250,000 people and counting. Many of these organisations have 1,000 or more people in them. This kind of scale immediately brings issues of culture change into the frame. It’s fairly common for a computer system to go into an organisation, get used for a short while, and then subside into occasional use by only a handful of people, before sliding off the map altogether. Most large scale computer systems fail not because they are unable to deliver against the stated business requirements, but because people either don’t want to, or are unable to engage with them.
I’m sure you can see where this is going. Let a few people play around with the system, and then add in the feelings of empowerment and achievement around the things they have created. Throw in a few compliments from their peers, “Wow, you did that?” and there is a kernel of a team that is very quickly evangelising about the system, and more importantly, taking ownership. Occasionally, organisations will deliberately plant a well known technophobe in this initial group – “well, if Henry can do it, then I can do it.” (apologies to anyone named Henry, I picked the name at random!)
Other people then start to want to get involved. Some will start with, “Could you make it do ….. for me”. Others will move straight to, “Can you show me how to do …..” Either way, the system will start to creep through the organisation, momentum building as more and more people get their own personal “Wow, I did that” moment.
This doesn’t happen by accident.
Tune in next week….