“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”
I’ve noticed something curious with a few of the OSS products I’ve worked with. The customers use the products for one of their functions (eg as a database of records) but not for other key functions (eg design activities). Sometimes the vendors are blissfully unaware.
This usually comes about because the customers’ operators have found more efficient ways of getting tasks done. But they have usually only resorted to looking for work-arounds because of frustration with the existing tools.
This makes the product more susceptible to being replaced, not to mention leaving a negative impression in customer’s eyes.
If you’re responsible for getting OSS into the hands of customers do you ever sit with those customers from end-to-end through their workflows? And by E2E, I include sub-contractors and third parties because sometimes it’s these entities (eg design partners) that find more efficient approaches.
If you find out that customers are using workarounds then it might be time for a product re-design.Read the Passionate About OSS Blog for more or Subscribe to the Passionate About OSS Blog by Email