e-Talk Radio: Paul Hopkins, November 2000

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customers?

Paul: Most of my customers are internal to the business, so we're supporting a lot of the functional areas as well as the business enterprises. And quite honestly, they do not understand the concept of function points, nor would I expect them to. What I do expect them to do is be able to understand some basic facts of prioritization and understanding what one comparison means to another, in terms of value to the business. So if you get into the very specifics about function point counting, it doesn't help with the customer. What does help is actually providing them some totals in dollars and numbers that will help them understand what that's going to provide them for the business.

Carol: And is this a better situation than it used to be?

Paul: Absolutely. In fact, this is…Some customers are calling this a benchmark year, because this is the first time they've really had such an engagement with IT in our planning for 2001. And even though we've got lots of things on the plate to do, and we can't do it all, but they're certainly more engaged than they've ever been in the past and actually are pretty excited about that piece.

Carol: And it must be exciting, too, to sit down with people in systems who are, and because I am one I can say this without fear of recrimination, but we're really nerds, a lot of times. We're like master electricians, master plumbers, and we talk in terms of subroutines and maps and amount of hardware, and I can just see it as being very daunting if we were talking in that type of language with customers. They must be quite relieved to hear business terms, in terms of dollars and alternatives and really business talk as opposed to technobabble.

Paul: Correct. And on the other side, too, is you have…I compete with a lot of salespeople out there, trying to meet with my customers to sell them products, just the latest and greatest toys, which provide little or no value for a lot of money. So it also helps put the damper on the bells and whistles that the customers might be excited about, and not realizing really what they're getting.

Carol: Right. And it's always a challenge, because you see…As systems people, we cannot control the amount of information that comes in. And there's really nothing to prevent somebody, and I do the same thing…You read a magazine, you say, look at these great new toys! They sound great. Do they work? Well, who knows? And we'll be back after a few short messages. If you'd like to call in, our call-in number is 866-277-5369, and we'll be back in a few minutes with more of Paul Hopkins from Honeywell.

Welcome back to Quality Plus e-Talk! I'm Carol Dekkers, and my company helps people, helps organizations like our guest's organization, to build better software by improving their processes, so that they can build better software. My guest this week is Paul Hopkins, who is the director of information technology for Honeywell's engines strategic business unit, here in Phoenix, Arizona. And I think that we have a caller. Hello.

Caller: Hello. Boy, is it a nice refreshing reality after voting to listen to you guys.

Carol: Well, that's a nice compliment.

Caller: Well, business is reality. What we're voting for are figureheads. With a little bit of power, not that much. I, from what I understand, I enjoy the function points method of what you're doing. And I only came into the house about 20

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