It’s funny how there are themes to things sometimes. A short while ago I had the same conversation with two different clients about user software change requests. Of course it was not the first time I had this conversation, nor will it be the last time. Most organizations that have the capability to change software and accept requests from users struggle at least a little. Typically what happens is the IT department creates a template for users to fill out to request a change to software. Unfortunately, the templates are created by IT professionals but the templates are generally being used by non-IT professionals – which can mean the forms might be really long and/or filled with a lot of jargon that non-IT personnel just don’t understand. It’s very common for there to be a language gap between IT and non-IT professionals; it’s got nothing to do with ability or intelligence but it does have to do with communication. We’ve come up with sample questions and thoughts on how to approach user software change requests so that everyone gets what they need:
- Follow up software change requests from users with a meeting or discussion session. Think of the form as a tool to facilitate communication and have a productive discussion, leaving both parties with a clear idea of what will/won’t occur with the change to the software.
- Don’t forget to update existing user documentation like manuals or quick guides with the new feature(s) from user software change requests. It takes a lot of the value out of the change if user documentation doesn’t include the new feature. Particularly if this is something that others will benefit or learn from – how will they learn about it?