A Focus on Individual Users
From page 294:
"And," he says, "another secret: a reluctance to do scut work is why a lot of my peers don't stick with this kind of work.
" In public health projects in difficult locales, theory often outruns practice. Individual patients get forgotten, and what seems like a small problem gets ignored, until it grows large, like MDR. "If you focus on individual patients," Jim Kim says, "you can't get sloppy. "
Sure, guiding customers on their social software use cases (one of many things I do in a day) seems somewhat insignificant compared to eradicating Tuberculosis in Haiti (one of Jim Kim's missions when founding Partner's in Health with Paul Farmer) though we do have the occasional case such as the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative where software is being used to combat a plant disease which, unabated, would cause a great deal of starvation.
Nonetheless, there is useful wisdom in the focus on the individual patient which, in my case, is the software user, their business need and corresponding use case.
While most folks get up and running perfectly well TeamPage, there are various that could do things better.
Another case was an energy company that tracked issues with Wiki pages because that was the first thing they tried.
All too often, RFPs and their corresponding software requirements roll up a set of user needs into a list of features that you check off to qualify.
You can't just solve a software problem in the abstract any better than you can solve a health problem without seeing the patient, their living conditions and even the political environment in which they live.
Jim Kim did great things for Dartmouth and I wish him luck in getting the position at the World Bank.