Thursday, 26 March 2009

Two corkers from Xero: no. 1

Philip Fierlinger at Xero has written a great post about their design and development ethos, called "One secret to our success".

Two quotes from that jumped off the page at me.

Here's the first.
Too many people define “working software” in purely technical terms. That’s like making food and judging it by whether it’s cooked, not whether it’s edible or delicious. If nobody wants it, it’s useless.
Spot on. That's why thorough market research isn't optional. If nobody wants your product, don't waste your money making it. Make something that people actually want to buy.

I was a bit surprised a week or so back when the firm I subcontract for asked me to prepare an Excel cashbook that could be given to clients as an Excel file - or printed out and given to them to fill in manually.

A firm giving clients a manual cashbook? In this day and age?

"It's what a lot of our clients want" said the manager who had given me this project. "Computers scare them."

And she has a fair point. Short of investing a lot of time teaching the client basic computer skills, or sending them on a basic computer skills course, what else could the firm do? If a client wants a manual cashbook, why not give them a manual cashbook? I've seen plenty of manual cashbooks that made my job at year end far easier than a Sage muddle!

See my next post for the second corker from Xero.

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