Shifts of Power


When Ward Cunningham was on our patterns & practices team at Microsoft, he would talk about “shifts of power.”  What’s interesting is how requirements perspectives both reflect and shift power.

  • “User” is king on the Web.  This is because they have choices, so the non-functional requirements / experience are competitive advantages. For example, if an application is faster, more reliable … etc. then you use it.
  • “Business” is king in the corporate Line-of-Business applications space. Users don’t have a choice. “User” experience takes the hit — bad performance, bad UI (User Interface)… etc. … as long as the job gets done, the business doesn’t care.  
  • “System” is king for engineers.  This is why you can end up with a lot of technology requirements for technology’s sake.
    What’s interesting is that as consumers press the Web for better experience, this carries over to the Enterprise, so our challenge becomes finding, sharing, and leveraging the proven user experience patterns.

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