Talking isn’t doing.



Any UX Researcher will tell you that there’s a world of difference between what people say they do and what they actually do. Or what they predict they will do and what happens. Usability Testing is often simply the process of discovering the delta between the say and do. One tool we use is experience mapping, where we map out the step by step process of a task. Each step may get a likert-scale (5-point) rating of its difficulty or the test subject’s emotional reaction in order to identify pain points and opportunities for enhancement. 


We do it for customers, but we seldom do it for ourselves. RACI matrices are the sort of sweet lies we tell ourselves about how we work. Functionally, they’re the New Year’s resolutions of project management: aspirational, rarely descriptive of reality. One simple reality check is to compare your RACI to your JIRA workflow. Is the R the person assigned the ticket? Hopefully. Is the A in the JIRA workflow at all (approving tickets) or is “approval” an ad hoc occasional check outside any established process? Is there any established process at all for consulting the C’s (SAFe Agile is pretty good at handling the C’s for cross-dependencies)? Do the I’s get notifications? What is the mechanism by which they are informed? 


I run very few of my workflows through JIRA because as a consultancy our workflows are heavily Balkanized and frequently managed in client systems. And JIRA is often really heavy for design. Rigid processes in a computer system are not a requirement for aligning word and deed. Self-awareness is, however, necessary. Because having said “It shall be thus” doesn’t mean it will.