While playing with my iPad (it's still a toy to me until it supports Google Docs) I realized that Apple is very good at eliminating three obstacles that hamper innovation.
1. They remove unnecessary layers.
2. They question the status quo.
3. They don't second guess their decisions.
As a Windows administrator you can use the same approach to provide the best service to your organization.
Remove Unnecessary layers.
Let's consider martial arts. One of the benefits of using an actual instructor (versus videos or books) is that he or she can observe you directly and then help you see where you are making unnecessary movements which drain your energy and can otherwise hamper your ability to master a form.
Apple did this very well with the iPod. They set out to offer a product that would provide an excellent listening experience. Everything else (the unecesary movements) got cut. The result was a product which boasted far fewer features than its competitors, but which succeeded in providing a great listening experience.
Your practical application of reducing layers could be cutting the little activities in your daily routine that get in your way. They may seem like good routines to have, but are they getting in the way of your end goal of providing excellent support to your customers?
Question the status quo
With all of the breakthroughs in computing over the last thirty years, one area has seen very little in enhancements. Communication between a human and a computer. It's been pretty much limited to keyboard and mouse.
Apple changed that.
Multi-touch gesture, introduced in the iPhone, is nearly as revolutional as the graphical user interface. (Anything so simple that you don't need to be taught to do it is truly an amazing accomplishment.)
Questioning the status quo isn't about playing devil's advocate just for the sake of argument. It's simply an extension of number one. Isolate each move and determine if A) it is necessary, and B) it can be improved.
Don't second guess yourself
In January 2010 the world was screaming that Apple should allow Adobe Flash onto the iPad. This wasn't new, either. Since the launch of the iPhone customers have been begging for Adobe Flash support.
Apple said no.
(I feel a sports analogy coming on.)
A good basketball coach doesn't change the game plan simply because his homecourt fans are setting arena noise records after he substitutes his star player for a second string nobody.
Noise levels... negative reviews... sports announcers flying off the handle... yet through all of this the coach remains unphased. He knows the strengths of his players AS WELL as the those of the opposing team. His strategy is set and the fans can like it or not (with the obvious exception being World Cup fans, in which case the coach's life my well hinge on complete capitulation).
When it comes to Adobe Flash, Apple didn't want to compromise user experience with technology that they consider unstable and buggy. Doing so would jeopardize their ultimate goal.
When you carefully analyze each movement, remove the unnecessary and then enhance the rest, you will be confronted with screaming fans. Be prepared to stand your ground. It's okay to take a second look, but don't hit the brakes just because the sky seems to be falling. You may realize, just as Truman Burbank
did, that his sky was a farce and what lay beyond was a far better reality.
Follow me on Twitter @ShawnAnderson
Windows Admin? Run remote commands on all your computers with your domain credentials using Admin Arsenal
We’re very pleased with all of the feedback we get from users about Admin Arsenal. It’s feedback that tells us what’s important so that we can concentrate on the features that are most important to you. Feedback can also tell us where we’re going wrong. In that vein, there’s one message that’s been coming through loud and clear.
We’ve noticed a lot of questions about features and functionality that already exist in Admin Arsenal but are obviously too well hidden. It’s unlikely that all of the questioners simply decided to send in a question without first trying to find what they were looking for. No, it’s more likely that what they wanted wasn’t very discoverable or was visible in way that was too obscure to make its use obvious.
This leads me to tell you about a new focus we’ll be having for the next few releases of Admin Arsenal: Usability.
Usability isn’t about making things “easy to use,” though that is usually a way to describe the benefit. Instead usability is about bringing the interface in line with how you, the user, thinks. A system with perfect usability will not require the user to ever think about how the software works, but only think about the problem that they’re trying to solve. Our goal will be to reach that programming nirvana of software that doesn’t make you think.
To that end, please feel free to tell us all about the times when Admin Arsenal was confusing, or surprised you, or in any way required something from you that it should have been able to get itself. We’ll try to shut down the egos here so that we can take the criticism, which shouldn’t be too tough. We all come from backgrounds supporting the big-boy ESM tools, so we’re used to frustrated users :-)
Keep watching this space for updates as we move down this road. We’re hoping it’ll be valuable for us all.