February 4, 2008

Make Sure What You Do = What Your Customer Wants

Sometimes on the weekends I do very dad-like things.

Brody turns 3 in April, and since we are expecting baby-sister (no name picked yet) in April it was time to move into a "big-boy" bed. So this weekend I built a bunk bed. Okay I assembled a bunk bed, but I did everything but sand and stain the wood. I could not believe the amount of assembly required for this bed. It made me feel very "daddish" though and I was super excited about it. Putting together my sons bunk bad...seriously how dad is that!? Brody loves it and climbs all over it.

And today we were playing with his cars from the movie Cars (he has all of them) and I got this great idea to build a ramp to drive the cars down from his top bunk. I thought we would have a great time building it together. We went to the hardware store and got some material, got the project all setup, and after attempting to hammer one nail Brody got bored with the board. I spent the next 45 minutes building a ramp with barriers, lanes, and finish molding. I thought it was really cool (still do). I took it up to him all excited and set it up. Brody thought it was cool for about 4 minutes until a different toy grabbed his fancy.The reality was Brody did not ask for a ramp. He was completely content just playing cars with me and didn't need anything else.

I often find I want to do something for my customers that I think is cool, even if they don't need it. This is especially easy in software development where unnecessary features get added because they are cool but not very functional (think annoying paperclip man in Windows). Avoid doing something because you think it's cool. Instead do something that is useful, which should start with spending some time with your customer and listening.

And if you're a dad spend some solid time playing with your kids and listening.


Chrystal Sturm said...

Love the bed. Love the ramp. Love that you actually made such a rad ramp for our baby! The fact that you spent so much time building something for our litte guy is HUGE! And he absolutely loves the bed and the ramp too which is why we play with it about 4x/day. You're awesome.

Great post tho. :)

Andy said...

is there a pic of the ramp?

Kevin Sturm said...

Post now updated with pic of ramp.