Can we hasten the Lord’s work by making technology easier to use?
(“Hasten” means to cause to make haste; to urge on; to accelerate, expedite, hurry [Source: Oxford English Dictionary – oed.com].)
That’s a question the ICS product management team believes can be answered with a resounding “YES!” We think one way ICS can hasten the Lord’s work is by delivering easier personal technology experiences for Church employees. such as e-mail, phones, desktop software, and video conferencing. Things like offering the right product choices, an intuitive ordering process, simple product setup/installation, having convenient training options, getting quick and competent support, etc.
Why “making it easy” is important
Wilford Woodruff, quoting the words Joseph Smith spoke to him in a dream, stated: “We are the last dispensation, and so much work has to be done, and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it.” [Lundwall, 1960. Temples of the Most High. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, Inc.]
Emphasizing it in our culture
We’re doing a few things to emphasize the “make it easy” philosophy on the ICS product management team to keep it top of mind in 2008:
- Each product manager has a big red “Easy” button on their desks as a reminder of this focus, which blares out, “that was easy” when pressed.
- Each week one of our product managers is assigned to give a short 2-3 minute presentation on a product that is hard and a comparable product that is easy, and then our team discusses the differences and what makes one product easy and another hard. We get all sorts of products in this exercise – one of my favorite “easy” products was the “Ready to Roll” paint can by Dutch Boy.
- Each product manager is required to have at least one goal for making their products easier.
Results so far
Although there’s much more work to do for making our products easier for Church employees, we’ve had a number of successes so far this year, such as:
- Easing the learning curve for employees moving from Office 2003 to Office 2007 by enabling employees to use Office 2007 on a home machine before requiring them to use it at work.
- Shortening the provisioning time of getting video conferencing equipment in international locations from three months to two weeks by improving the product distribution process.
- Helping employees create great internal Web sites quickly and easily by providing them with “best practice” Web site templates.
As we consider the tremendous amount of work that this Church is destined to accomplish in such a short period of time, the real question is why wouldn’t we do all within our power to make the right technology easier to use if it can indeed hasten the Lord’s work?
We’re hiring on the product management team and if you or someone you know has a desire to hasten the Lord’s work through making IT products easy for the Church’s employees, visit http://www.lds.org/jobs and look for posting # 0800733, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Voice Communications.
Troy Davis is a manager of product management for the Church.