PMI has drilled it into our heads for years about the perils of gold-plating, and how we need to focus on just meeting requirements, yada yada yada.
Yet, when I think back to the most exciting work that I had done (years ago), it was when I had met with a client (a customer service specialist) to look into a simple request to develop a few reports. She needed this so she could have more information readily available to solve customers' problems. I watched this person work for a while and felt immediate pain at what she had to go through to resolve customer problems and take orders over the phone.
She had to make a zillion phone calls and run back and forth to the plant flooor to see the status of an order, most of the time calling the customer back hours or days later. I went back to my team, and we decided it would be just as easy to give her an online "dashboard" right from her primary order inquiry screen (this was before dashboards were popular).
From there, she could see inventory allocation, and at what point material would be in stock to complete the finished products for the order, as well as other related info. She could track the customer's products from order through manufacturing. This saved her daily walks to the plant floor. Not only that, she could now address her customers' problems while they were on the phone!
Upon seeing the impact this made, we then asked if she'd also like to be able to look up shipping information, delivery tracking, and accounts receivable as well, and of course she was overjoyed. The system revolutionized customer service for this company.
One might call this gold-plating, but I call it excitement. We were excited about making a huge difference in the ability of the client to solve problems, and the client was excited to offer this benefit to her customers. Of course, I first watched the client in action so I could easily tell what was needed, so this was still a pragmatic approach.
As long as innovations have a practical use, then it's not really gold-plating. It's gold.
In our relentless pursuit of "meeting requirements" and "attaining better efficiency", let's not forget that passion and excitement can energize teams and customers, and often leads to further innovations. Above all, it leads to action and movement! Ironically, this critical mass can increase throughput even better than traditional efficiency and scheduling methods. Bottom Line: We need to bring passion and creativity back into the workforce!
Labels: action, course, creativity, customer, customer-service, it-project, passion, pmi-project-management-institute, project-status, project-teams, service-delivery, service-orientation