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Bad romance, bad tech – same thing

This post first appeared on LinkedIn, published by Matthew Dunn, Business Development Manager, Kiandra IT

When we enter relationships, be it consciously or unconsciously we all make a huge number of decisions to ensure that the potential next partner is fit for purpose. Be it for fun, lifetime companionship or because their family owns a brewery!

UX

What’s it like to be with them? Do they have the ability to make you feel good and is it an enjoyable experience? If so they’re a keeper.

Are they buggy, don’t quite behave the way you thought they would, don’t live up to the initial hype? Do they not really deliver what was stated on the dating profile and promise that most of the changes are “certainly on their roadmap” but never seem to materialise?

Support

Before the worst happens we always ask the question — “yeah but you’ll be there for me won’t you?” The answer is always yes but no-one really realises the full depth of a relationship until times get tough. I need to call you at 3am because everything has turned to custard. What? You’re only available to me between 9-5 Monday to Friday — but my world would’ve irreparably shattered by then. No, sending an email to you won’t cut it, I need help and I need it now. Maybe you’re not what I need after all…?

Cost

Where do you want to go for dinner? Often a question that’s asked early on and a great barometer for the future. From personal experience if it’s somewhere that serves things “deconstructed” or “with a (insert unknown herb/vegetable/liquid here) foam” then it’s going to cost you. Now that’s not a bad thing but is this a one off event or something that is required on a monthly basis? Is the outlay worth the UX and support? If so, then actually it might well be better to take this relationship rather than putting up with a buggy non-supportive one.

ROI

Overall, what am I looking for? At what point will I think “wow I’m glad I did this”? Is it when I give our daughter away on her wedding day, or is it that we’ve had a great couple of months before I went travelling? It’s a sum of all the parts. Am I happy to put up with the ongoing promise of improvement that never comes because they only ever want to go out for pizza and actually I’m on a shoestring budget so that suits me fine? Or am I disappointed that I put in that huge investment of time and money and went with my mates’ recommendations, only to find out it wasn’t to be?

Initially we evolved and grew together, we wanted the same things and everything was great. However, slowly their emphasis changed and they put more self-development time into these new found avenues. Now these have become a primary focus. We drifted apart and ultimately the relationship was deemed end of life after just 3 years, damn, I gotta start again.

Futureproof

How flexible is the relationship? You’re dynamic, you want someone that’ll grow with you, add things to the relationship when you need them and also guide you with advice and knowledge when you want to pivot and change. Are they rigid, stuck in their ways, unable to change direction without a lot of notice and even then they’ll try to persuade you that it can be fixed and patched up in the short-term? If you want to do something out of the ordinary then they might well threaten you that you’ll no longer be supported if you do what you want to do. What? But you’re a fundamental part of my life and I’ve just signed up to a mortgage with you so I’m tied into this but it’s not what I want. There’s no way that I can reach my potential with you but I’m committed.

It’ll cost too much to split

How often is this the “reason” for a relationship to continue? We can’t break up as financially we’re committed and we can’t afford to run two houses. What would the street think too? Everyone sees us as leaders in our group and even worse, what would happen if people who have invested so much into us found out we had made a bad decision — would we ever recover and would we ever get their trust back? I know this is stifling our potential and we won’t do our best whilst we’re together but let’s suck it up for three years and look again then. Three years comes around and you’re so used to working that way you’ve even modified your life to fit around it. I know we’re not happy or productive but let’s give it another few years and see…

These are of course generalisations but all too often I speak to companies who are experiencing some or all of these issues and challenges. In life we don’t pick an off-the-shelf partner, we look for “the one”, so it always confuses me why companies do when it comes to choosing software? Why get something that doesn’t tick all the boxes? Like a good relationship, custom made software fits you and your needs perfectly, has the same priorities, is responsive to change and able to grow with you. After all, to reach your potential you need a great partner.