I was on my morning walk and I had this itching thought in my brain about project management but I was failing to describe it in words. Thus I came up with an analogy to describe it;
Imagine that you have a technology laboratory that produces tech. solutions to customers. And you have the best solutions for turning voice into electrical signals. One day, an old man who has been living in a farm at a rural area walks in as a customer. He asks you for a gadget and describes his needs:
"I want you to connect microphones and speakers with the very best and durable cables. Extend the cables all the way from my home to my farm. The sound has to be crystal clear."
There are two approaches you can take:
- Go find the best microphones and a decent cable that will not lose the signal quality too much in the long distance.
- Figure out how to reduce the noise on a cable that long.
- Maybe install a signal booster in the middle?
- Create the "telephone" and install them to the customer.
- Make sure that the cable will not get damaged. So setup poles to carry the cables.
- Regularly maintain the cable and the poles.
Or ask him:
"Why do you need it for?"
He says: "Well, I have to talk to my farm, I am too old to walk that distance now."
Then you can simply suggest:
"Let me give you these smart phones. One for yourself and one to remain in the farm. You can call your farm from anywhere. Or you can call other places like the ambulance when needed."
You see, sometimes the customer might not know what you can offer. They do their best to come up with solutions that they think suits the best for them. That is simply because, they don't know all the possible solutions. For your own sanity, you must ask the need clearly and focus on the solution. Not on the path the customer shows. You have to know all your tools and a bit more than that.