Your project: the PM responds

One of the things we face as civil servants, or consultants to the civil service, is the fact that we are not only designing and building policy, tools and services, but as citizens we are also end-users of the ‘products’ we develop. An occasional result of ‘ticking all the boxes’ leads to slowly delivered solutions that may have been achieved far faster if the ‘right’ person, at the ‘right’ time, provided some critical appraisal of the ‘product’.

Doesn’t always work though.

ZDNet reports on Bill Gates’ frustration in trying to install and use Moviemaker and Digital Plus Pro. Amongst his comments:

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues.

He adds:

So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that is a terrible website I haven’t run Moviemaker and I haven’t got the plus package.

And then ends with (which I would perceive as a gentle hint):

When I really get to use the stuff I am sure I will have more feedback.

What is so valuable here is Gates reporting his experience as a user. He tested the user experience and it didn’t work.

So, Digital People, how would your project stand up if the PM was the end-user? Why should it make a difference if it was a user named G. Brown or Prime Minister?

Each comment counts. It improves what we’re doing. As Gates says:

There’s not a day that I don’t send a piece of e-mail … like that piece of e-mail. That’s my job.

It’s ours as well.


One response to “Your project: the PM responds

  1. Justin

    Putting the citizen at the centre of the public service is not a new, or unreasonable proposal. However, getting to it is going to take many years, if not decades.

    In web 2.0 some people say that the user can produce the content. If that content continues to say that politicians, and the public services that their reputation depends on, are ” style web 1.0 stalinist “, and there is no change, then voters will get upset.

    If politicians see the disruptive power of the web 2.0 process as helpful, and engage with it, then there might be some progress. However, NHS and other public service vested interests will not go down without a big fight. We have to nurse them through their hospice years ( after all it is now 60 ), and introduce some new ways of looking after people.

    If G. Brown used this

    He might find where and how he can stop biting his nails

    If he needs an operation, he can use this

    Then he can be proud and say I am using web 2.0 and it is improving public services. What a bonny user he would be…..

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