The problem is green-screen, mainframe-based ideas of “process”

February 5, 2009
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Making Enterprise Software Sexier: Repeatable Process Without Endless Boredom

Woot! Bob knocks one out of the park:

In part, I think there is a problem in that we continue to carry over a lot of the old 3270 Green Screen approach to Enterprise Software. We view that the job of the computer is to rigidly control the people using it and that this is the only way to ensure our perfectly concieved process will be accurately carried out. Much of it has extremely rigid workflow. Such user interfaces are extremely modal, and frankly, they feel awful. They force their users to act in a pre-defined play like marionettes. There are endless “screens” that have to be dealt with, and sometimes a key piece of information is on a screen that we can’t quite remember how to get to. The track is extremely rigid, and usually make no sense at all to a newcomer. It might also be less than ideal for achieving the best possible results. After all, people are not marionettes.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah! Here’s the conflict:

  • Decades of using these systems, combined with some of the things in Six Sigma, CMMI, etc., have convinced at least two generations of executives and manager

Making Enterprise Software Sexier: Repeatable Process Without Endless Boredom

Woot! Bob knocks one out of the park:

In part, I think there is a problem in that we continue to carry over a lot of the old 3270 Green Screen approach to Enterprise Software. We view that the job of the computer is to rigidly control the people using it and that this is the only way to ensure our perfectly concieved process will be accurately carried out. Much of it has extremely rigid workflow. Such user interfaces are extremely modal, and frankly, they feel awful. They force their users to act in a pre-defined play like marionettes. There are endless “screens” that have to be dealt with, and sometimes a key piece of information is on a screen that we can’t quite remember how to get to. The track is extremely rigid, and usually make no sense at all to a newcomer. It might also be less than ideal for achieving the best possible results. After all, people are not marionettes.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah! Here’s the conflict:

  • Decades of using these systems, combined with some of the things in Six Sigma, CMMI, etc., have convinced at least two generations of executives and managers that this screen-based workflow metaphor is a business process.
  • Market pressures have been making this model less and less viable for at least a decade, with a resulting obsession with “time to market”

Unfortunately, because there is little widespread understanding of the first point, the latter point is typically attacked via “more of the same”. More of the same. Sigh. Hey, let’s get certified! Certifiable, if you ask me.

I wonder if Bob has been reading Sig lately on ERP and BRPs

Update: ah, read the post to the end, Mark. Of course Bob has seen the BRP stuff.