I've been waiting for ten years or more. And after all that time of so many of us pushing, and praying, and writing, and teaching, it has finally happened. We should probably have a party. But I for one don't have time.
It's 4am in Dubai airport. I'm headed home to India for a week. Then a month in Bombay, Africa, and then Germany. At each stop there is a new phenomena - clients who have hired us for guidance in the Institutionalization of Usability. About time!
I started work on my book,Institutionalization of Usability, in 2001. I wrote it because I realized that our field had to mature. We were clearly proving our worth. By showing the ROI of usability, companies would want to have it built in as a routine part of their development process. And they would want a process-driven process.
I blame piecemeal usability as the source of the oscillating UX group. The group gets hired. Then they run around frantically because they are perhaps 2% of the staff strength needed to operate properly, and they are operating without the infrastructure and acceptance that makes us efficient. Pretty soon the question comes; "Are they worthwhile? What do THEY do?" And of course there has been no time to prepare contrast studies and documentation of the value of the work. The team is disbanded at the first budget reduction. Then there are slowly growing complaints and a team is put in place. Then repeat. It's awful.
So we need to be built in as a organized part of the SDLC.And we need to be "PROCESS DRIVEN". That means that we don't depend on a couple of brilliant craftspeople to do magic (and train a few apprentices). It means we accomplish UX work based on normal, systematic engineering processes. Jared Spool and I debated about 5 years ago and he asserted that UX was only ready to be done by craftsmanship. It was a bitter if very friendly debate (and I think he was really on my side). But now we have proven the possibility, and companies are jumping to make UX work routine.
Worldwide we see companies who understand that it makes sense to do UX work right the first time. We are seeing the end of fixing train wrecks. We are seeing a transition away from emergency and chaotic UX. We are seeing more clients then we can manage ask for help setting up those organizations. They understand that it requires executive sponsorship. they understand that there must be a roadmap to setup the organizations, communication channels, staff resources, culture, methods, standards... etc. They understand that panic is not efficient.
So, I'm willing to bounce around the world for awhile as I see a dream come true. When I started in 1976 it was truly unimaginable. The level of executive support we have today is fantastic. In fact the biggest problem is often that there is LOTS of support in a massive pileup of cross control and confusion.
But...the plane is boarding. I promise to write more later.