Well, this is the last in a series of analogies between my kitchen project and IT. It has been a stretch at times, both figuratively and labor-wise, but I can see the light.
I am so close to completing the kitchen; I just have to grout the backsplash and install the handles. I am physically and mentally spent, tired of the project, and just want to cross the finish line. Along the way, I started to doubt my skills and question why I even started this project. However, as I am wrapping it up, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment, and I am proud of my work. Every time I finish a project, I swear that it is the last one…until the next one comes along.
At times, big IT projects seem to be overwhelming and the end never seems to be in sight. No matter how much you plug away at the big stuff or little details, the elephant never seems to get smaller. As you progress through the project, you deal with the issues and specifications that were defined. You also may find little odds and ends as you weave through the web of content that gets uncovered as you go. All-in-all, you make the backbone of your application robust and as bullet-proof as you can. Wow, you sit back and are amazed that it does everything–and then some–that was specified. Now, the hard part is the user interface.
User acceptance is the key to every successful project, including integrated software solutions. Yes, this project does A through Z, but can people actually use it? Is it cumbersome or intuitive? Does it look nice or is it pretty vanilla? There are situations where the application interface does not have to be fancy. A warehouse application may be” “Scan a Location; Scan an Item; Enter a Quantity.” But, customer service may have multiple screens or bits of information that are displayed on one or two monitors. Now you have to consider color, intuition, font size, ergonomics, content, etc. How does this affect his/her job? The information may be there, the input fields may be there, but does it flow? Is it easy on the eyes? Is it an easily-understood process?
When I updated the infrastructure for the kitchen, I made sure everything exceeded building codes and fit our needs. The electric, lighting, plumbing, and support were enhanced. Now, after all of that work, if it was not presentable, if I used cheap cabinets, flooring, or counter tops, or if the flow was not improved, what did I accomplish? It is really hard to justify all of the time and energy–even if it is new and improved–if it looks the same or if people don’t notice. The same with an IT project. You can tout the fact that it does do A through Z, and it is robust and bullet-proof, but make sure that it looks nice, it is easy to use, and people notice. And if you’re not quite sure how to do so, L-Tron can help. From asset tracking and inventory management to data collection and field mobility, we will assess your needs and come up with a combination of the integrated software and hardware that will work for you, within your budget.
As for me, on to the next project…