Custom Application Development

Feb 24 2009   12:51PM GMT

Changes, Users and Resistance

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Let’s face it, software development and design is complex – even when it’s simple 🙂

There are some areas where it seems that no matter what is done there will be unhappy users – at least for a while.  I found myself in that category last week when it was announced by Data Access Corp that their beloved newsgroup forums were going to be moving away from the “old fashioned” newsgroup format to a new web-based format for their Dataflex and VDF (Visual Dataflex) groups.  Almost immediately the resistance began showing – and I was surprised to see myself as one of those initially disappointed to see the move.  I had a lot of company!

Once I realized my resistance I immediately recognized my behavior as like that I’ve experienced from users of my custom applications.  “If it ain’t broke…” – you know the rest!  I realized that I had become very comfortable with the status quo – after all, it had been in place for many years, was reliable, and known.  I have become proficient working with it, using it in the way I most needed to – it has been serving my purposes just fine.

However, as with the rest of life, change is inevitable.  While we welcome some changes, it is our nature to be disturbed by others – we get to make the choice of how we make the most of it.  The reasons for change may vary greatly, but through my rose colored glasses I find that most are made for good reasons (…though not always reasoning that I agree with 🙂 ). 

I suspect that once the changes are made to the Dataflex newsgroups I will become comfortable with those changes, but until then I’ll be one of those grumbling.  Hopefully it will help me to tolerate better those resistant to the changes in applications which I make.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • ITKE
    Thank you Avery for this post! The book, Getting Real is not a book I'm familiar with, at least up to now! Having taken a look at it with the links you provided I can see that it truly presents much of my "preaching" about what software "should" be! Thanks!
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  • GarretMott
    Hey Joe - I too liked Avery's quote from the book. How true it is! However, the move from NG to web forum at Data Access is (to me) a different situation. I won't get into a rant about people making things look spiffy while removing/obfuscating utility, but there are a few points I would like to mention. The forum will increase the presence of VDF & DAW on the web. That's good. What isn't so good is that 1) using the web forums is far more cumbersome than the NG for the people who want to answer a question & 2) there is software available for synching the forum & a NG. The software is even free! It (I believe) works off SQL triggers to keep the 2 tables synched instantaneously. Forums seem to be designed from the point of view of someone asking a question, not the people who may answer - whereas NG's make it easy to browse through the questions & answer some. So - why not have the best of both worlds? Shouldn't the mantra of IT/support be "let's make it work for all users"? Get back to work Garret.....
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