Monday, December 10, 2007

My Crazy Employer

The place I work for, a web-based application, is in dire need of managerial direction. Here's the timeline:

Four months ago we put out a new version. It had an entirely new look and feel to it. It took three months to get the thing out, making our customers wait for minor bug fixes while we added some snazzy, exciting, non-essential features. We vowed that we would never again wait three months between releases.

Last month we put out a new version, the first since the one three months prior. It had an entirely new look and feel to it. Imagine going to eBay or Amazon and finding that they completely changed the look of their web site every three months, moving things around seemingly on a whim, disabling such non-essential functions like the ability to cut and paste and being able to search for something with fewer than five mouse clicks. They don't because they are real companies. This version, like previous versions, was full of bugs and errors and a complete disregard for usability. It's almost as if we are actively TRYING to irritate our customers, seeing how far we can go before they leave us. It surely has nothing to do with the lead application programmer slamming things into the system after it has been tested and approved by Quality Assurance. Certainly our clients appreciate that we are using the latest technology even if our system is as slow as a Vic 20 and, well, doesn't always exactly work on fundamental items. I mean, seriously, if you type in an account number in a search window do you really expect that hitting the ENTER key will make the application search for the account? That is SOOOOOO last year!

If you were such a company you could A) Listen to your employees who were telling you that there were problems with fuctionality and usability and fix these things before release or B) Put the thing in place anyway and after clients complained and threatened fly five or six of them to Chicago to personally air their grievances but make sure you put in another hurried release the weekend before so that you'll be surprised by additional bugs while face to face with your most important clients.

Guess which one we picked?

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