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"Wow! Of course! But, I don't see how..."
"Let's not worry about how now, but let's set this as a goal: 'A system so simple that even a doctor can use it!'"
"Wait," he said, "I'm not convinced you're one to do this job. Truthfully, we're looking for a radiologist who's familiar with ultrasound technology, someone that has worked with doctors, hospitals, and clinics. "I feel that only a radiologist could write documentation for our exotic new system. We'll keep you in mind..."
============================================================ 4. But, will I lose this client? ============================================================
I say, "I understand your concern. May I speak frankly?
"Carole mentioned that you have many radiologists working here. Yet, your company delivers documentation that doesn't serve your customers.
"Your 800# is ringing off hook with needless questions and complaints... You don't need a radiologist to write your documentation; you need an expert high-tech writer.
"As I've told Carole, I have experience in biomedical applications. Tell you what. Let me show you what I can do in just two weeks. If you're not satisfied with what I produce, it won't cost you a penny."
"But, but I don't see how..."
"Let me worry about how. Do we have a deal?"
I stand there silently waiting for his response. I'm thinking I've really blown it! I've insulted his employee-radiologists and doctors in general.
I watch him agonize over his decision. I can't stand silence, but I keep my mouth shut. Carole smiles, but I'm sure she's wondering now...
...Finally, he says, "OK, I'll give you two weeks. I guess we have nothing to lose."
============================================================ 5. Did we do what customers wanted? ============================================================
I began interviewing designers, radiologists, and a few of their customers. I discovered nothing "wrong" with old system. It did what it was designed to do.
But, intricate complexities required users to endure extensive training. Plus, THE DOCUMENTATION HELPED ONLY EXPERTS!
Thus, customers were totally dependent on service engineers and expensive customer training.
To marketing, I promoted idea that new system should be designed from outside-in by USERS -- not from inside-out by engineers.
This was a switch. Formerly, they had to market whatever engineers created.
We immediately conducted brainstorming sessions with customers andpotential customers. We quickly discovered what USERS wanted, which had a positive impact on design standards.
I was surprised when they decided to use motto, "So simple that even a doctor can use it!" Of course, we used our motto only in-house. But, it gave us all an "idea worth working for."
Everyone knew that most doctors would seldom operate system because they employ radiologists to do that. All doctors want is data (images) for analysis. However, we knew that doctors had strong buying influence... and if they could get a "hands-on" demo during "shoot-out," they would be more likely to buy it.
Plus, we found that doctors loved fact that we were thinking of them.
In 2 weeks, we developed tremendous inertia and excitement.
Over next several months, we had frequent meetings with product designers and medical professionals. We brainstormed ideas for user interface, and how documentation might streamline user learning.
As I documented system, I tried all emerging features as a "dumb user." Hence, I found many bugs and discovered ways to streamline and simplify user interface.
Sure, programmers and engineers resisted changing hardware and software. Yes, we worked long hours. Yes, Configuration Control Board had to approve system and my documentation. And finally, everything had to be FDA approved. But, we met delivery date with a system "so simple that even a doctor can use it."
It all began with that idea worth working for.
Businesses don't work by themselves; people work. And thing that makes people work is AN IDEA WORTH WORKING FOR.
Best Regards, Mike Hayden
mailto:Mike@SeniorManagementServices.com Principal/Consultant Your partner in streamlining business. ©2004 Mike Hayden
Mike Hayden is Founder/CEO of Senior Management Services and the Documentation Express in Silicon Valley, California. Mr Hayden is the author of "7 Easy Steps to your Raise and Promotion in 30-60 Days! The book that smart bosses want their employees to read." ISBN 0-9723725-1-2. More articles at http://www.SeniorManagementServices.com/pvt-information.html