Customer satisfaction, some factors

This exercise is so generic and just try to think a little bit about it. For sure it depends on so many variables: product, service, industry, target users…

Ok, let’s try it, where does customer satisfaction comes from? Mainly it comes from:

  • Performance
  • Optics
  • Results

The relevance and the way it’s seen each one of these aspects is different.
First feedbacks usually comes from optics aspects. For the other 2 sometimes it takes more time to receive feedback (depends on product/service complexity).
For complex systems the results usually takes too long to be understood by the majority of the users.
For old services/products, that are typically working fine, provoking no noise and providing a good value, the results and the performance are much appreciated.

They feel these products/services as a part of themselves and no firelights are required.

Working on end-user adoption

We´re working on a project where a solution is implemented on SharePoint.

Last week I was on customer office assisting to the presentation of the solution.

Apart of the details related to the project, at the end of the meeting I had the opportunity to talk to them about the users and their feeling about the tool.

At this point they were seeing that the application still has some visual aspects to be improved, but in addition the usability seems to be one of the main concern. I was asking more about it and finally the main issue I see here with end-users is adoption.

I asked them: If this tool would be done in Lotus Notes, should we have any problem?

Answer: no, we have thousand LN applications, they know how to do it.

For me the obstacle is not the application, the obstacle is that this is the first SharePoint application for this 300 potential users.

Customer does not want to have thousand of help documents to introduce the application. I agree with them: they should not work on help documents to explain how to navigate on SharePoint and how to find the properties of a document, check out a document or other type of standard actions.

My recommendation was to work with the people to adopt the SharePoint environment before to start working with the application:

  • They should work on the SharePoint sandbox with users to get them used to the environment.
  • Do sessions to explain how documents are stored, approved.
  • Work in addition with people that has old version of MS-Office (they way to work in different).

In summary, make the users feel comfortable with the environment.

SharePoint: Convert Folder Structures to Metadata

This fantastic link resolves one use case that we have with our current users.

The point is that this is our first project with MS-SharePoint 2010 and we still have to learn how to resolve non inmediate user problems.

Users are used to navigate on folders, and try that they look into 100.000 documents searching is not a real solution for them.

This article resolves this and the important thing is the team has understood that we just cannot wait to the customer say us what they want to have: we can know it before because we know how they are currently working.

With this easy solution we are answering to the expected user experience the client is asking.

Why Lotus Notes will die and Cobol will survey?

Just some notes to be read on future.

Lotus Notes will die because:

  • The volumes capacities that the companies require cannot be stored by LN.
  • The workflows these applications manage are being moved
  • There are so much companies that are migrating to Exchange.
  • There are not big new customers on LN since some years.
  • What is IBM doing with LN?
  • Nobody invest on a non relational database.
  • Could is the natural solution for replacing the need of replica (LN is the only replica system that really works).

Cobol will survive because:

  • Cobol cannot be replaced easily in Banks or insurance companies without a big investment. If you know a bank that replaced it, please let me know, I’m interested to listen about the experience.
  • On the other industries, it will die, but I will focus on bank and insurance industries.
  • Some of the processes managed in a bank cannot be moved to other platforms: so much complex to be tested with real results, too expensive.
  • I know some banks that tried to get rid of Cobol, After some years and some million €, they decided to improve their Cobol environment.
  • They manage huge volume of data and transactions (some of them in real time).

Let’s see if when I read this post in ten years I’m right or wrong

Test Strategy

I have been doing a test strategy (or test plan) document for a project. It has been a funny exercise to help the project manager to do it.

I like project management activities and take care of things like this now that I do not manage projects officially is something that makes me be happy.

The main reasons to do it are:

  1. Get deep understanding of the projects makes me to manage them in a more comfortable manner.
  2. Help others to achieve their goals, collaborate with them help on the commitment of the people.

The final table of contents is something like this:
1. Background and Project Objectives
2. Testing Objectives
3. Scope
4. Test Environment
5. Approach
      5.1 Strategies
      5.2 General Test Objectives
      5.3 Application functionality
6. Testing Types
      6.1 Smoke Testing
      6.2 System/Application Testing
      6.3 Integration Testing
      6.4 Software Regression Testing
      6.5 Security and Access Control
      6.6 Performance Testing
7. Test Plan
8. Assumptions and Constraints
9. Test Responsibilities
10. Testing Entry and Exit Criteria
11. Results Monitoring and Verification
12. Bug Categorization and Life cycle
      12.1 Priority
      12.2 Severity
      12.3 Life Cycle
13. Deliverables

Business Needs, where are they?

During these last 2 months I have done 5 proposals, 3 business cases, and some presentations to the customer attending some potential needs they have.

The result? Zero contracts.

Last week an old database were causing problems on production due to a change on the amount of redundant users they now are enabling. We have a contract. I did a business case some years ago, but no answer from client.

I’m not going to stop doing my business cases and the consequent proposals. They are the result of an strategy and later or soon they will work. When? when the business processes fail.

This customer behaviour is becoming more intense since the 2008 turmoil, where the IT budgets were cut and the only business strategy on IT is to reduce TCO.

Unfortunately the target of my business cases are legacy applications that are waiting for a big bunch of dollar that replace them. So I’m waiting they fail and then, make some improvement on them.