5. Help Customers Describe Their Needs

Use the “That’s not it” strategy

One day, Mike, my IS director, rushed into my office and said he needed a report generated as quickly as possible from the company’s database. He rapidly sketched a bunch of circles and boxes on my blackboard, drew some arrows connecting them, and announced that the logic he had diagrammed would produce the report he wanted. Before I had a chance to ask a single question, he was gone.

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Because Mike was a savvy computer old-timer who could write the history of computing from firsthand experience, I was confident that not a single question would need to be asked. After all, he ...

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