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Customer-Focused Community Source: Concepts and Processes
 

Customer-Focused Community Source: Concepts and Processes

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The revolutionary Sakai project, unlike most open source efforts, began with developers who were not the primary users. The Sakai community is continually working to be more effectively ...

The revolutionary Sakai project, unlike most open source efforts, began with developers who were not the primary users. The Sakai community is continually working to be more effectively customer-responsive. This talk identifies key characteristics of customer-focused cultures as well as processes that can help move us there.

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  • Measures and implications will differ across types of institutions, departments, and individuals.Others may define my success differently than I do (e.g., grades vs. learning as a measure of student success).

Customer-Focused Community Source: Concepts and Processes Customer-Focused Community Source: Concepts and Processes Presentation Transcript

  • Customer-Focused Community Source: Concepts and Processes
    Mark Notess, Development Manager
    UITS/Digital Library Program, Indiana University
  • Customer Focus
    What is it?
    Why do it?
    How can we do it?
    July 2009
    2
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
  • What is customer focus?
    The answer would seem obvious, but…
    July 2009
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
    3
  • What is Customer Focus?
    1. We have met the customers and they are not us.
    July 2009
    4
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
    Imagine a copyrighted image of Pogo sitting here, saying, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
    Next Bench
  • Who are our customers?
    July 2009
    5
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
    CIO
    IT Staff
    Support
    Other Staff
    Instructional Design/Consulting
    Librarians
    Faculty A
    Student A
    Faculty B
    Student B
    Faculty C
    Student C
    Etc…
  • How Do We Differ?
    July 2009
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    6
  • What is Customer Focus?
    We have met the customers and they are not us.
    We are committed to customer success.
    July 2009
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
    7
  • What is Customer Focus?
    We have met the customers and they are not us.
    We are committed to customer success.
    We plan, design, and deliver activity enablers rather than just technology.
    July 2009
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    8
  • Two Worlds
    tool
    object
    subject
    outcome
    division of labor
    community
    rules
    Systems have a way to “think” about themselves—data structures, algorithms, application programming interfaces
    Users and organizations have ways of accomplishing work, whether tacit or explicit, whether documented or informal—tasks, roles, attitudes, knowledge, habits, etc.
    Structure of computer activity
    Structure of human activity
  • Enabling Activity
    JSR 168
    OKI
    IMS
    How do I …?
    What just happened?

    The way computers need to think about themselves is very different from how people need to think about their work.
  • About Sakai, c. 2004
    The University of Michigan, Indiana University, MIT, Stanford, and the uPortal consortium are joining forces to integrate and synchronize their considerable educational software into a pre-integrated collection of open source tools. This will yield three big wins for sustainable economics and innovation in higher education:
    * A framework that builds on the recently ratified JSR 168 portlet standard and the OKI open service interface definitions to create a services-based, enterprise portal for tool delivery
    * A re-factored set of educational software tools that blends the best of features from the participants’ disparate software (e.g., course management systems, assessment tools, workflow, etc.)
    * A synchronization of the institutional clocks of these schools in developing, adopting and using a common set of open source software.
    (thanks to the Internet Archive Web Wayback Machine)
    July 2009
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
    11
  • About Sakai Today
    The Sakai CLE is a free and open source Courseware Management System. It features a set of software tools designed to help instructors, researchers and students collaborate online in support of their work--whether it be course instruction, research or general project collaboration.
    For coursework, Sakai provides features to supplement and enhance teaching and learning. For collaboration, Sakai has tools to help organize communication and collaborative work on campus and around the world. Using a web browser, users choose from Sakai's tools to create a site that meets their needs. To use Sakai, no knowledge of HTML is necessary.
    But the product vision reaches beyond teaching and learning applications. Many Sakai deployments include as many or more project and research collaboration sites. In addition, the Open Source Portfolio e-Portfolio system is a core part of the Sakai software. Finally, the Sakaibrary project links library resources to Sakai. You can try Sakai for yourself by downloading and installing the demonstration or by visiting one the sites of our Commercial Affiliates, several of which have test drives of Sakai where you can simply create your own account. No installation necessary.
    (from sakaiproject.org, 3 July 2009)
    July 2009
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  • What is Customer Focus?
    We have met the customers and they are not us.
    We are committed to customer success.
    We plan, design, and deliver activity enablers rather than just technology.
    Our understanding is open to constant revision.
    We recognize and seek out requirements variability across time as well as across types of users and uses
    We recognize the difference between user needs and their many proxies, and work towards high-quality proxying
    We recognize the richness of contextual details and their impact
    July 2009
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    13
  • Proxying Phenomenon
    July 2009
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    14
    What the customer asked for
    How we understood what the customer asked for
    What the customer really needed
  • Proxying Phenomenon
    July 2009
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    15
    ?
    Developer
    Customer needs
    Jira ticket
    Institutional Sakai rep
    Institutional requirements committee
    My memories
    PROXIES
    Survey results
    Competing or similar product
    Focus group rankings
    Use Case
    Persona
  • A Fictional Proxying Example
    July 2009
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    16
  • Tacitness of Work Knowledge
    July 2009
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    17
    What people know about what they know and do
    What people don’t know about what they know and do
    How well does our requirements process work under water?
  • Self-Report Reliability
    July 2009
    10th Sakai Conference - Boston, MA, U.S.A.
    18
    Elliot, R., & Jankel-Elliot, N. (2003). Using ethnography in strategic consumer research. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal , 6 (4) 215-223.
  • Discovering User Needs
    make it up—we’re smart!
    I am the user!
    ask those who know users
    ask early adopters
    ask users what they like or want
    Designer
    ask users what they do
    competitive
    analysis
    ask users what they did
    read pubs
    Bb
    study real artifacts & data
    Moodle
    users
    watch users work & discuss
  • Contextual Inquiry
    ask users what they did
    study real artifacts & data
    Designer
    watch users work & discuss
    users
  • What is Customer Focus?
    We have met the customers and they are not us.
    We are committed to customer success.
    We plan, design, and deliver activity enablers rather than just technology.
    Our understanding is open to constant revision.
    We own the full customer experience and constantly improve it.
    “Dive for the ball” mentality – potentially harder in a non-hierarchical, somewhat volunteer organization like Sakai community
    Full experience: tryout, evaluation, adoption, planning, implementation, support, maintenance, …
    Product vision: a designer’s job. Don’t ask customers to be designers.
    July 2009
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  • Why be customer focused?
    Is it really necessary?
    July 2009
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    22
  • Customer Focus is Hard
    Customer focus requires bridging technology and human activity
    As technologists, our expertise, focus, and often our interest is in the technology itself
    “Work practice”—where real requirements live—is a hard place to visit
    Technology organizations always risk becoming technology focused
    Our training as technologists seldom addresses how to uncover hidden customer needs
  • But It Beats the Alternatives
    Technology focused
    Internally focused
    Unfocused
    Customer driven
    July 2009
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  • Risks to Sakai
    We could lose the critical mass needed for sustainability
    We could waste resources doing things that don’t matter, that people don’t use
    And, most important to me,
    When usage is required, we force people to experience unpleasantness
    July 2009
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    25
  • How can we be/stay customer focused?
    A few suggestions …
    July 2009
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  • Five Suggestions
    Ground requirements in real data via contextual inquiry and high-fidelity proxying
    Privilege data from those less like us: dissenting voices, students and faculty from non-technical disciplines, laggards
    Invite ethnographic, qualitative, or design research classes at your institutions to do projects that enrich our customer understanding
    Supplement personas with “coursonas” or other activity-based representations
    Figure out how new members become enculturated in Sakai and make sure a shared understanding of customer work practice is part of the experience
    July 2009
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    27
  • Coursona Example
    2a. The Technology Semi-Distance Groupshop
    Focus on learning and applying a technology-related process in group projects
    Intensive technical, procedural work with a parallel focus on how to work in (possibly distributed) teams
    Course content is technical, and some students are remote making it convenient and necessary to use technology for course management (slide sharing; podcasting; online group sessions, discussions, and filespaces)
    Examples: Instructional technology design course
    (For more examples from last year’s talk, google “notesscoursonasakai”)
  • Process Alone Won’t Do It
    July 2009
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    29
    Communication
    Process
    Predispositions
    People
  • Discussion
    Other elements of customer focus?
    Is customer focus important for Sakai?
    How are we doing? How could we improve?
    July 2009
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    30