Head in a blender

Save Ferris

Andy Pedisich  January 8 2008 09:21:41 AM
Today, after many delays, I was permitted to do a demo of Notes 8 for a CEO of a company that was acquired by one of my clients.  You may remember me mentioning this before.  My client is a dedicated Notes shop with lots of embedded applications.  The acquired company was populated by staunch Outlook users who said that their productivity would be adversely affected if they had to go to a different email package.

IT was staying quite neutral, and my client's leaders were eager to pick whatever pleased the newly acquired company.  They did, after all, acquire them because they were smart, and were good producers.

I had been waiting for this meeting for a month.  The last few weeks were hampered by meeting cancellations and changes in schedule.  Today, while on the way to another client, I got the call that this would be the best time to address the issue.  I promptly turned the car around and headed to the conference room.

These situations are a little tricky.  I always want to maintain my technical dignity by remaining as objective as possible.  That's not easy for a person like me who spends many days a month presenting Notes/Domino best practices.  I did have a game plan though, starting out by saying that Notes is not just email, and that email was just a small part of Notes. Then I began to demonstrate how integrated Notes was into the total business operations of the client.  Take the home page, for example, that had links to all of the operation's internal portals.

He felt that was interesting and certainly positive for the employees, but kind of waved it away.  What he was really interested in was email.  We dove into the interface, logged into Sametime and showed him presence awareness, then conversation threads, which he thought was extremely valuable.  He wasn't that interested in DWA because of the pervasive wireless devices like Blackberry, but he appreciated it for being like Outlook Web Access.  I walked the gamut from Activities to Day at a Glance, to the Search Center, recent contacts, the customizing you could do in preferences, and all the other neat things about Notes 8.  I didn't mention mail recall as my client was not going to implement it across the board.

Then he wondered if Notes could do something Outlook couldn't.  When he schedules three all day events on the same day, can he control which one is listed on top?  It's distracting to have your attention drawn to the top entry when you were really interested more in the one on the bottom.  Could you perhaps change the priorities of the all day events?  The answer is no, but I had to point out to him that what he was asking for was not something that programmers would predict.  You don't generally schedule 3 all day events on the same day.  None-the-less it was something he wanted because of the way he worked.  It was part of him being productive.

Then he sat back in his conference room chair, tipped his head back and said, "OK.  It's a go. I like it.  How soon can you deliver it?"  

It was then I realized that he was really just a pretty normal user, albeit one with extraordinary influence.  He was concerned about how he could get his work done, about the whether it did what he needed to do.  He didn't give a flying jump about features he didn't want.  In his mind, for example, RSS was a complete waste of time.

We wrapped our brains around getting it all done before March 1st.  There is much to do.  But the hard part is over.  I'll be doing an upgrade, not a migration.

- Andy


1francie  1/8/2008 10:11:22 PM  Save Ferris

Wow Andy, nice work!!!

And I love those kinds of meetings where you are able to hit the nail on the head AND you get positive feedback. The immediate positive feedback of that magnitude is something I have little experience with, but perhaps you can clue me in on some of your tricks on getting that done.

(so did you use waterboarding or an aluminum foil wrapped lime gag?)

2Andrew M Pedisich  1/9/2008 7:52:35 AM  re: Save Ferris

It wasn't just me, of course. Also in the room were the Notes lead team person and a strong IT guy. I think the important thing is, all we did was show. We didn't try to convince. Notes 8 did its thing.

When we were done, the lead Notes person turned to me and said, "Good thing we were showing off Notes 8." "What do you mean?" I asked. "We got to show off all the cool things that were not in 7," he replied.

Good thing, indeed.

See you at The Fear, Francine.

3Jack Dausman  1/9/2008 12:29:14 PM  Save Ferris

Good account and much appreciated.

4Brian  1/11/2008 12:33:19 PM  Save Ferris

"I'll be doing an upgrade, not a migration"

Correction, we'll be doing an upgrade and an Exchange->Domino migration :)

5Andrew M Pedisich  1/11/2008 1:10:40 PM  re: Save Ferris

You are correct, Brian. I was so elated by the outcome I completely forgot to mention that we also get to do an Exchange/Outlook to Domino/Notes migration that was caused by the decision. Nice catch!

Considering the 1,000 users at another client that I am bringing to Notes, 2008 is starting out to be a pretty interesting year.