Remember the needs of others

Recently we re-introduced the “naked burrito” into rotation at Casa de Reynolds. One of my favorite ingredients is Cilantro (fig.1) . Fresh, delicious Cilantro–which apparently some people cannot tolerate at all–is featured prominently at breakfast lunch and dinner in our household.

Per the NY Times article, it seems some people are genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro.

Cilantro bunch on a cutting board

Fig. 1) The polarizing herb

And as I chopped the bunch into smaller and smaller bits, I thought “and thank goodness nobody in this house hates it–I’d be tempted to cook with it anyway.”

That would be a jerky thing to do. But as I thought about an imminent deployment of a BI tool to hundreds of users, I remembered some of the complaints I heard about the UI. While some change management issues are easily dismissed as “I’m the chef. They’ll eat it and they’ll like it,” it’s important to understand where some people are coming from.

With the managing change part of Product Management, it’s certainly tempting to take that position. But what if some of the users’ needs are like a dinner guest’s non-trivial dislike of a herb that you prefer to cook with?

It’s important to surface these users’ needs well before engineering is cooking in the kitchen.

Otherwise, you’d better have a plan B.

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