Jul 29 2018
Business First, Solutions Last
Too often, people become confused with what they are actually trying to accomplish. This especially occurs in business. Non-optimal (or completely incorrect) solutions result in loss of time, money, and opportunity. How can one navigate their attention and conversations to what matters?
Start with listening.
Determine your goal in business terms, not technical terms. "I will create a react app" is the wrong answer. "A ruby on rails website" is the wrong answer. "Sending an SMS message" is the wrong answer. These can be solutions, but they do not imply business value. Listen to your client to gain understanding for what they need.
One of my freelance clients needed to optimize how they gather applications. After sorting paper applications for years, they understood this could no longer scale. Again, "I will create a react app" or "I will create a rails project" should not be decided with haste. Take a hot minute to actually think.
The problem is: "I need to optimize the gathering of applications." Understand the workflows of your customer. Know which applications they use on a daily basis. Is there a way to integrate with one of these? What devices do they use? laptops, tablets, smartphones? How does the client perceive an effective optimization?
Don't jump to the first technical solution. Use creative thinking. You can develop solutions that are far more optimal when you put your mind to the task.
Through conversation, I discovered:
- This company optimizes at a conservative pace. With this in mind, there was no need to go HAM with a complex tech stack.
- This company already has a simple bootstrap and jquery website.
- My clients are diligent with their email. Both business partners replied within several hours of corresponding. Could this be part of the solution?
The solution consisted of:
- Create a basic html form for accepting applications
- Recieve the application via AWS Lambda
- Forward the application to their email. Additionally, record the application for archive purposes.
The result? My clients amazed with the succinct solution. It was also quick to write -- saving them lots of money.
I'll leave you with a semi-related dharma lesson of Noelle Oxenhandler.