One of the motos that has gotten embedded in corporate culture is “You are not your customer” as an engineer I see this all the time. A designer builds something, engineering looks at it and says “but…”. A manager responds with the flip, “The designer is the professional, you’re not the customer”. With an attitude like that the message is abdicate your responsibility and focus on your job. How can you build as successful company if all you do is your job, we need to think outside our role, challenge assumptions and build great products.
We were working on some customer issues the other day and it another customer was having problems, you know double whammy. What was interesting is that a more senior person started talking about the customer about “they’re such a problem” and then talking about strange things they did in the past. As we dug into their problem, yes they were using an API in a very strange way (20 seconds of runtime to yield 6 results), but what was more interesting is that the more junior people started talking about how this customer was bad/wrong – taking on the way leadership has framed them.
Waterfall bad, right? Well, to an extent it is — the good part about waterfall is that you start with a objective and build a team around an objective. The challenge is that the interm points and progress measurements get caught up in gantt charts, absolute assignments, critical paths, etc.etc. Of course waterfall is all about time and deadlines, so when things fall behind it’s all about finger pointing and fall guys.