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The Ferrari Can Wait

Posted on Thu, 2017-09-14 15:58 by Martin Dempsey

Last year, discussions around the kitchen table turned to a new car and I thought, being an inclusive and consensus-building dad, that I would get the requirements from everyone.  So:

  • My wife wants 7 seats and a large boot
  • My son is a man who values brevity.  His requirement: a Ferrari
  • My daughter wants cup-holders and a TV in front of her car seat

I’m left with a requirement that we don’t really need, a requirement that we definitely can’t afford and a requirement that is completely superficial.  So much for getting people’s opinions!

This is often the approach to developing workplace requirements.  If we start with a blank sheet of paper, people, depending on their nature, will start to focus on things that are either at the apex of aspiration, at the extreme and most infrequent of their needs or they will cite the banal features that are most recent in their mind.

That’s not to say that shooting for the moon early in the process isn’t worthwhile – it can be fun for people to dream without constraints and can define the direction if not the destination. 

However, getting the real requirement right and defining the real priorities can only happen when you’ve defined the realms of the possible.  Assessing your aspirations and aligning them with your budget and your timescale is a skill – and you’ll consistently be surprised at how many of your workplace dreams can be achieved with the right expertise.

Defining the realms of the possible is about good design consultancy coupled with expert advice on the available market.  It’s a collaboration of the right advisors, not a monopoly on knowledge – and it’s worth it every time.

As for my car?  A 5 seat jeep (compromise), a new car seat with cup-holders (innovation) and a Kindle Kids edition (technology). 

The Ferrari will have to wait.


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