A recent post by fellow ITKE blogger John Wilder entitled “Sparking Innovation” caught my eye this morning and I just have to comment.
His statement that “…I trust my users to come up with innovative ways of using some of these new products, and I’m not so sure that IT would ever be able to envision all the possible uses…” immediately brought my mind into the many situations I have experienced where my users innovative ways of using a piece of software has resulted in their identifying ways in which IT (…or the developer/tester) certainly had not envisioned it would be used. Is it a bug when software isn’t used in a manner for which it was designed? Bug or not, the situation has often led to “changes” to the software. I believe that users, because of their innovative approaches to use CAN be the best of software quality testers — but developer beware!
John also refers to a situation where program use is resulting in a tension between a direction that IT is promoting and another approach suggested by the users. This kind of tension between application use has been a common experience for me when developing custom programs for my customers. Some users will prefer one direction, and others another. IT and the developer walk a tightrope between users every time this situation manifests itself.