Recently, I had the honor of leading a team of people as the Engineering and Quality Super User Lead at a large company.  During that time, I was constantly plagued with questions from each team regarding ownership of tasks and system processes.

Many times, the answers required both business input and some common sense.

For example, in one set of processes, we had our core Engineering team, raising work for Quality team members for creation of documents.  This was working for some time but then we had a series of workflow issues.  These issues were driven by the manual manipulation of statuses on objects.

Many tickets were raised and the process itself began to slow down tremendously.

Once we were able to sit down, perform critical analysis on the system and evaluate our current work practices, we found that our solution was fine. We just needed a deeper understanding of the integration points and the key benefits associated with that integration.

A great example is Engineering Change Master.  At the core, this feature allows for object association, workflow processing and controlled releases to manufacturing.  The team worked tirelessly to get the tactical level system processes in place.

Once this was done, we released it to the business.  We found one major learning in all of this, our work was great but didn’t account for some real-life processing scenarios.  Our test scripts were all the happy path with very little exception handling.

After leaving the project team, I spent weeks working with end users, watching them perform every day tasks and how they would collaborate.

This was an eye-opener.  The team was fantastic and I learned more about their habits.

A quick observation revealed small important details, such as the fact that they were using the reports we designed in an iterative fashion.

Our assumption during creation was that they would run the report a single time at the end of the process.

Reality showed that the reports were run repeatedly during each critical phase of the process.

Our work would have been delivered in a vastly different manner had we known this at the design phase.

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