Introducing User Centred Design methods at IAI
The TRUMP project was undertaken as one of the process improvement activities at IAI. IAI has a well established process improvement infrastructure at corporate and division‘s level using SEI CMM as a guide.
The TRUMP project is a success and interesting conclusions can be made that might be helpful to other organisations:
Prior to the decision to join TRUMP we had difficulty to understand what the UCD methods are and what is their potential value to our organisation. Our decision to join was based more on a need and intuition than understanding. We think that a different approach is needed to communicate the essence of UCD.
We found out that most methods are quiet intuitive and can be learnt on the job. After participating once you can continue on your own using available means. We feel that prior training doesn‘t add too much value.
The methods were practised by developers. They liked them and recommended to make them a standard in the development process. That is a key point in any successful introduction. Once achieving quality in use becomes a part of the developers responsibility the methods will be used. A separate HF group often doesn‘t get a sufficient budget from the Project Manager. If it‘s the developers responsibility there is no problem.
Another important point is a close link between process improvement and product improvement. Many process improvement initiatives fail because it‘s very hard to show the impact of specific process improvements on the resulting product or the business value. TRUMP methods provide the means to assess improvements in the product from user‘s point of view which is an ultimate success criteria.
One of the problematic common practices in process improvement is calculating ROI (return on investment) in order to convince the management to get onboard. This is very hard because objective data often doesn‘t exist. In the TRUMP project the methods cost was extremely low and the results were obvious in the very short term. So, although we worked out the cost benefits, in our case the managers never asked for ROI data.
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