I spend a lot of my time creating new features that simplify my companies business processes.
A good example of this is an invoicing system I created. Instead of users working off different spreadsheets and copying and pasting data between various different programs the user can click a couple of buttons and everything is done and they can move on to the next task.
I am currently expanding this system so more of the companies work can be invoiced quickly and simply.
I get to discuss with the different departments involved, finding out how they work and what could make their lives better.
I then get to look at what structures already exist in the database and get to rip out anything that makes no sense (Today I had a Customer table which has a primary key called ClientId – its now a Client table with PK ClientId) and add new structures to store new information.
I then can build a user interface so the users can interact with the data.
But the most important part of the process comes next. This is when I show the users what I have built and how it will make their lives better, they can then feed back to me questions and comments. How do I do x?, what about y?, have you thought about z?
After this very valuable feedback I can go back and tweak what I have done making it better and better until the users think it is suitable for what they need.
I find it intensely annoying that after spending weeks of my time working on creating something to be used. Users either make do with my solution and never tell me the one thing that really annoys them or worse they go back to the time consuming process and never feedback the one or two changes I need to make to complete the project.
Now I am not perfect, like many IT people my people skills are somewhat lacking but apart from asking people what can you do to get the feedback you need to complete the project?
I do not have the knowledge that other departments have so I consider development a team effort that requires everyone to contribute otherwise it will not finish.
The second outcome where users return to their old ways is the most annoying. It could well be months or even years before I find out that what I created is not being used any more. By that time my memory of what I did and more importantly why I did what I did has been lost and forgotten.
So users please, please tell me what works and what doesn’t and what things I can do to improve things. I want my solutions to constantly improve and get better and I can only do that with your help.