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What the customer actually wanted

A few weeks ago Orian sent me a hilarious but sad cartoon on the all-too-familiar process of cumulative error and product dilution during a project life cycle: customer request -> finance -> engineering -> manufacturing -> marketing -> delivery. Not only do we fail to deliver on what was proposed, but what the customer said they wanted and what they actually wanted were two very different things.

The one panel that I think is missing from the cartoon is What the User Experience Designer Wireframed — wings.

There’s an awesome site called Project Cartoon that lets you create your own version of how projects really work.

Have fun playing around! Then go print a dozen copies of the cartoon and hand it out to everyone on your team. Whoever doesn’t get it is the weak link.

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  1. fredericguarino says:

    i LOVE LOVE this cartoon, which was featured in a presentation i saw yesterday in Montreal given by @afrognthevalley…. kinda reminds me of what we're going through right now….

  2. haha.. this is soo true!!

  3. You probably should credit the original creator of this. Tom Gilb, Principles of Software Engineering Management. Published in 1988. Was a favorite cartoon of mine from college computer classes. http://bit.ly/FlQYD

    • Thanks for noting that, I didn't know the creator's name.

    • Bill Brunia says:

      Actually the original was much earlier. This cartoon, missing a few frames including one entitled “how advertising promoted it” showing a beautiful girl in bikini in a swing, was from the early to mid 70’s. This cartoon hung on the wall of my Dad’s office for years, and I have a photostat(!) of it packed away in a box in my attic. My dad owned an electrical supply house, and I suspect one of the factory reps gave it to him.

      • Jeremy Folkman says:

        Bill can you post the original, in drafting school we were given a hilarious copy which included “How the Mechanical contractor envisioned it” with a big fan in the back and fans mounted around. The electricians panel had an outlet in the tree and lights on the swing. There was a safety department panel with a mattress below and padding wrapped around the tree. I lost my copy but it was a classic that should be seen by all again, these new versions miss so much.

  4. carmenhetrea says:

    Great cartoon! Thanks for sharing. Now the Britannica Blog as well.


  5. Dolphin3900 says:

    This is missing one of the pictures, titled “what advertising said the customer would get”, showing a pic of a blonde bombshell in a bikini on a swing!


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