For starters, I think I’ve completely learned my lesson about suggesting innovation in a corporate environment. I’m just not going to do it anymore. It frustrates me more when they won’t move on anything. Unfortunately, and unhealthily, it just encourages me to sit back in my smugness and watch as they project manage with spreadsheets. But that’s easier than hoping they’ll innovate and watching them stagnate. So forget that post I just made on not being snarky.
I just brought up to one of my corporate overlords what I posted about here: that we should adopt a more web savvy approach to project management. He pointed out that everything that’s being done on spreadsheets could be done in SharePoint but users don’t want to have to learn something new.
Is that true? We hear that so much that it’s almost a tautology. I mean, don’t we all feel that way: that once we’re comfortable with something we don’t want to have to learn something new? That’s why so many office workers turn to Excel for everything. They know it already.
Here’s another perspective:
Users don’t want to learn a new piece of shit.
SharePoint is made by Microsoft and I’m sure it will come as a total surprise to you that it isn’t user-friendly. Naturally, it doesn’t look like its developers are remotely aware of the past decade of developments on the web. It includes features like a Task List and a Wiki but neither works in a way you’d want them to. The Wiki has nothing in common with actual wikis. And the task list takes several steps to add a task while simultaneously not giving you all the features you’d need in a task list.
It’s got a calendar that works all right. But similarly, the method to add an event to the calendar doesn’t quite make sense. If there’s another even on that day, you have to view it and then add your own. So you’re a bit confused if you’re adding to the existing event or to the day.
There’s a simple reason Google’s suite of tools are so amazing: they work. They work naturally and intuitively. Stick Google Calendar in front of someone and it won’t take him long to figure out how to add an event to it. Gmail may work differently than most other email apps in its conversational-style view but there’s no learning curve required to use it. And once you do, it seems natural.
Too often, we are afraid of using new tools whether on the web or in the physical world not because we’re actually neophobic but because the designers and developers of those tools haven’t put the proper care into make them work well.
The solution to getting people away from using antiquated spreadsheets for project management isn’t to move them onto another shitty tool like SharePoint. The solution is to find a tool that works easily and intuitively. Or build it. We are the web team for Christ’s sake.