Better information systems — VPEC-T (contd.)
Content — and information outside ‘the system’
Information was flowing around that did not necessarily get into the automated systems. People had conversations, sent emails or left notes to one another. The IT people had no brief to consider this. Often they did not know about it, but even if they knew, they were not encouraged to think it concerned them.
The formally defined scope of the project limited their interest, and they would even be blamed for ‘scope creep’ if they took interest in information that circulated outside their scope. Now scope creep is a real problem that can arise at many points in a project: Users perhaps seeing screen mock-ups and then realizing other things that would be helpful; the sudden introduction of new and game-changing information that was missed before; or changes to the business that cannot be ignored. Changing what type of information the study should include can enable better understanding of scope at an earlier stage.
Trust — “Don't they trust us?”
And most interestingly, because it is expressly ‘outed’ publicly for perhaps the first time, and promoted as a major issue in VPEC-T, many of those involved in handling and using the information didn't trust one another.
I've ‘known’ this for years. People in business, and on the IT side talk about its symptoms:
- “Did you know that they're keeping customer lists in spreadsheets as well?”;
- “I.T. won't let me use the latest browser, I have to use Internet Explorer 6.”;
- “The business analysts write it up, then just chuck it over the wall and we have to make it work”;
- “Will you go to the cold store and check the smoked salmon stock? Last time I looked there was a 50 kilo shipment in freezer 6, but the computer tells me we're out.”
Yes, I've known all this but I've never thought about it as something that can be talked about, while working to resolve it.
So: “Vee-peck-tee” it is ⇒