Who Is Making Sure Things Work?
Sorry for the blog downtime the past few days. I had a great weekend back in my old hometown, Phoenix. My wife and I stayed at a hotel in Scottsdale that had some room features that just didn't work well (although it was a nice hotel and an enjoyable stay overall). The little design glitches made me wonder, “Who, in management, doesn't recognize this stuff is a problem? Who approved it initially and who doesn't fix it today?”
The coffee maker was one of those things. It was a “pod” single-cup maker, as linked to above. The glaring flaw in the design is the challenge of actually getting water into the coffee maker. For a coffee maker with a carafe, even a small 4-cup one, there's a spout for easy spill-free pouring. Not on this one — you're supposed to brew right into the mug.
See the photo at the left? The center part with the white disc is where the coffee pod goes. The photo is a bit deceptive, but there's an outer semi-circular ring where you're supposed to pour the water. This opening is about 1/2″ wide. Try an experiment at home… how easily can you pour water out of a ceramic mug into a small area? You can't. Water ends up all over the counter…. the water that landed on the coffee pod fell straight through where the mug was supposed to be sitting. A big mess.
A) Who, at the manufacturer, designs this crap and never discovers the flaw?
B) Who, in hotel management, buys this crap without ever trying to use it?
C) Who, after discovering the flaw, wouldn't send these back, ordering coffee makers that actually work?
I'm placing more of the responsibility on hotel management…. let me give just another example of their poor design. They put a lot of effort into turning this former Hampton Inn into a cool, “hip” hotel. There was some lighting built into the top of the headboard. Problem was I had to call the front desk to figure out how to turn the lights off.
“Oh, we get calls about that all the time,” said the front desk person as they explained that the switch was hidden in the nightstand that extended behind the nightstand… move the alarm clock and I'd find it. The switch was cleverly the SAME color as the nightstand….
A) Who approves that design?
B) Who doesn't fix that after getting calls every day?
I wouldn't necessarily expect a root cause fix… but at least post a little sign telling us how to turn off the light (but, then that wouldn't look very hip).
Think about our workplaces for a minute…. is there stuff in our workplace that just doesn't work? Is there enterprise software that's just hard to use? Equipment that's glitchy and causes problems for people day in and day out?
Who approved those things? Who rushed them into place? Who didn't input from those who would use the equipment or software? Who didn't discover that it doesn't work well? You find the same types of problems in factories and hospitals. Why do technologies get chosen that don't support the way people work?
Can't we do better? Do leaders need to pay more attention to these details? Or do the leaders need to care more?