A lot of money is being wasted in our society. An average household throws away foodstuffs worth 400 Euro every year. Carelessly bought in the supermarket. Ebay and similar sites are full of items people purchased, convinced they would use them. Don't we all have a couple of things in the attic we thought we'd use when we bought it, only to find out upon opening the package that we couldn't use it? How about your gym membership. Who still goes after the initial 3 months? What excuse do you have to not go?
How does that come? I think it can be summed up in one word: impulsiveness! You warm up to a product and you convince yourself that you'll use it. But now in real life. Things seem to go differently in real life. There is no time for sports or for using that grandiose gadget. You thought the kids were dropping by this weekend for dinner, so you bought that cooking marvel. But they didn't. Always enough reasons. The same happens during the development of software. Jumping into the development stages impulsively, without thinking things through properly. Why would we ask future users what they really want?! We'll build something we think they need.
Or users who decide to switch to another application, based on an impulse buy. I'm sure you'll realise the waste of money, time and energy.
Consider the 7 W's next time prior to the purchase decision.
The 7 W's
- W1: What are the goals?
- W2: When is the project a success?
- W3: What are my wishes and requirements?
- W4: When will I deliver the project?
- W5: What are the costs?
- W6: What are the risks?
- W7: Why will I do this?
A simple example
My clients want to order products on-line on my site. For them a success is a trouble free purchase but for me success means a client satisfaction rating rising from 7.0 to 8.5. So I'll have to have a clear picture of the wishes and requirements of my future users. Once these are clear, unequivocal and consistent, I can go for it.
I will deliver an on-line marketplace for my products within 8 weeks, in line with the wishes and requirements. Based on clear requirements I can calculate the cost to execute on this and compare them with the anticipated revenue growth. Smart set-up?
What are the risks if I don't and what are the project risks?
Weighing all pros and cons I can determine exactly why I will go ahead. My customers have a need for this and I understand my clients! So this is no longer an impulse decision. My fridge won't hold any superfluous food stuffs. Thinking things through on the shopping run really pays dividends!