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Useful - The Only Criteria Software Should Be Measured Against

I have been espousing this idea for a very long time and it's awesome to see, according to the Sydney-based Google Maps lead, that Google have also taken this on-board:
The primary driver to obtaining resources is somewhat unique at Google--the bottom line is whether users will find its projects useful or otherwise, Rasmussen said.

All computer stuff (equipment and applications) are just tools and they don't exist for any other reason than to be used. To be 'used' it has to be 'useful'.
And that's it.

What makes software useful ... to be fair, no-one knows except the person using the software at that particular moment. The UI can have an impact, the response can have an impact, the actual job to be done of course has a huge impact.

Also software can be useful for things that people who designed them had no concept of - using a spreadsheet to run a project was probably not how the originators of Lotus 1-2-3 (grandad of Excel) envisioned it.

If usefulness is the KPI (sorry, had to use it in order to raise my business wank rating) you will start to:
  • Lower your operational costs
    Will everyone in the organisation find that application useful, if not then why provision for everyone?
  • Increase the quality of service
    As I said, only one person can tell you if a tool is useful, the one using it and by focusing upon them the application will deliver true service
  • Increase your revenue
    People truly gravitate to useful products, look at TradeMe, the iPhone and Windows 3.1
You will also change the mindset of those delivering applications ... it isn't (only) about ROI, business processes, job protection, project plans, industry standards, best practice, preferred supplier arrangements, recommended development methodology or any number of side issues.

It is about being useful!