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Why we draw our customersMark Kromski
For years I have been thinking of combining the best of my two professions as an analist and artist. Analytical in finding creative solutions in a realistic world on the other hand and a crafter in an imaginary world where there are no limits on the other hand.
Learn to capture the essence
I was inspired during a session given at an agile coach camp last year in the Netherlands, where a workshop was given on using sketch-notes for capturing meeting minutes. The presenter, an agile coach, was asked by big companies to make sketch notes for their management meetings. This made me realise that there is a growing need and market to change how we express ourselves. The fact of creating a simple sketch during a meeting, that captures the essence of the discussion and helps you remember the details without writing them down, got me thinking! I need to harvest and tweak this so I might use it in my daily work as an analist.
How to draw a customer?
The right spark came at the moment I needed to replace a colleague during the holidays, he introduced me in the project by explaining the business of the customer and how we have solved his problem. I created a “functional drawing” borrowing some principles and techniques I learned at the agile coach camp, The “functional drawing” represented the main business of the customer and how our solution fits in the business. This is now used as a beacon for every new project member, giving him or her a high-level overview of the project and some important domain aspects.
I was surprised and happy how quickly the sales team at ACA-IT Solutions embraced this concept. They not only used it for understanding how the system works but as additional selling material for each prospect too. Without realising it I started sketching in such a way that the drawing contained a simplified view on our domain driven approach that we pursue in each project. One of our architects (Tom De Wolf) mentioned it and made me realise how close I was of having a drawing that can be used in all levels of a project, keeping our domain driven approach intact.
Customer & Team Guidance
The positive reactions on all levels within ACA-IT Solutions and the customer boosted my motivation to harvest this and start creating similar functional drawing for other projects. This gave me the chance to learn new things and see other customers and see similarities across projects which I can use in my own projects.
I experienced how ACA-IT Solutions has given me the time and support to crystallise my idea, which makes me feel compelled to set new goals and improve them. How can we do this more efficiently, faster and avoid that I’m a bottleneck without losing quality and style. Why shouldn’t these functional drawing be recognisable when circulate in the market. “Hey look, a functional drawing of ACA-IT Solutions“…
The sky is the limit
One thing was clear after making a few drawings, I need to move from physical to digital drawings but still make them by hand (using a Wacom drawing pad). This gave me the possibility to create a library of hand-drawn icons and concepts such as a “User” or a “Company” that can be reused in my other drawing . This has speed-up the creation of these drawings. This library is already available for others within ACA and re-using it will ensure a recognisable style. So a small step in efficiency and quality is set.
I plan to organise some workshops at ACA-IT Solutions for interested and inspired colleagues that want to make their own “functional drawings” for their projects so I will not be the only one. We could even make these drawings in tenders to give that extra vision of their project in the future.
The sky is the limit as long your organisation makes sure the sky is clear
– Mark Kromski, 2015
Blog written by Mark Kromski
Business Analyst at ACA IT-Solutions
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