The attraction and distraction of chunky problems

The majority of the people I work with are expert problem solvers – and nothing gets a problem solver more excited than a chunky problem. I have to admit I probably fall into this category too… there is nothing I love more than to tackle architecting a great experience for a complex application.

In some ways this defines what I see as my value proposition “architecting online experiences that shoulder the weight of functional complexity in simple and engaging ways”

But here’s the problem – the chunky problems don’t always represent the most used or valuable aspects of the application for the real end users. These problems attract attention because they are rewarding to solve, and it takes a really focused business representative to keep the ship headed in the right direction.

I don’t want to turn this into another agile pitch, but keeping the business and development team’s close can help avoid this pitfall. The business should help direct eager problem solvers away from simply pursuing the most interesting problems, and guide the feature priorities towards maximum user / business value. It highlights how important the prioritization process is as you move through the iterations, so don’t get distracted by the chunky problems – get focused on the real problems.

About Jason Furnell

design thinker . experience designer . lo-fi sketcher . workshop facilitator . visual thinker . diagrammer . agile believer . multidisciplinary collaborator . build sequencer . incrementing and iterating . architecting information . presenting and pitching . master of design (its a degree, not a self assigned title) . dyslexic . misspell-er of many many many things....
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1 Response to The attraction and distraction of chunky problems

  1. I agree (and disagree) with what you’re saying here – either way, I’m not sure it’s entirely a bad thing. Horses for courses I suppose, but I often think solving the most complex problems first lends consistency and simplicity to the work that follows. I’m sure many will disagree.

    In this particular instance, mobility competes with the need to perform complex tasks (transactions) i.e. Can I wait ’til I get to my desktop computer before bidding on this item? I dare to say, getting the transactional component of the site correct is more likely to propagate repeat usage (from active users, not lurkers) than a good find/browse experience.

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