Claim IT support based on need - not function

When it was time to look at a new kitchen for the house, we went around to all the kitchen suppliers and there was talk of stoves and hot air ovens both high and low. Everyone had the best solution with their very unique products that they wanted to sell to us. If we were quick and careful, they could probably put in a small discount.

In the end we sat on the sofa, completely overflowing with glossy catalogs with pictures of beautiful household items, but we were not much wiser. Everyone was the best at something.

But one day we met a salesman who knew how to best capture a stressed-out family's renovation needs. She asked the quirky questions: "how are you looking at cooking? ” followed by "why is that important to you? ”.

We were a little apprehensive, we had been asked many questions about blank doors and stainless steel appliances, but we had never reflected on how we looked at cooking and why it was important to us. The seller, however, stood by and we spent a long time in the store looking at how we looked at cooking, how and who uses our kitchen, what needs we have today versus how the needs will develop as the family develops, etc.

It was different and quite strenuous, but gradually we got a picture of how we actually looked at cooking and the use of the kitchen. The requirements around the stove's wattage or the self-freezing freezer in all honor, but the most important thing is what we should do in the kitchen and who should be with.

In my professional role, I often get into discussions about acquiring new, or overhauling existing IT systems. All too often, the thoughts of the customer (and the supplier) revolve around requirement regarding the system's technical specifications and possible functions. You forget, or choose to ignore, those needs the business has and how the system should support it.

When we dare to challenge the deep-rooted thinking around the feature-oriented requirements specification and instead spend time and energy to work out what the business really needs, then the IT system can achieve its goal of being a support that creates added value for the business.

The kitchen is now in place and there were no high gloss doors or stainless appliances. But a sense of calm harmony is found in our new kitchen and all members of the family feel that the different parts of the kitchen make it easier for their everyday life, whether it is the creation of culinary delights, cake baking or finger paint.