have all the information. If you don't know what customers wanted, you don't know how much revenue is riding on it, you don't know if it needs to be better, and you don't know if it needs to be out now. You just don't know a bunch of that stuff. The other dangerous mission, I think, is something that project managers, and especially senior developers, fall into this trap. And that is being responsible for product direction. I can't tell you how many organizations I've been a part of, where the engineers have set product direction. They've said, "We know the users, and the users want this." Well, they actually don't know the users. And they probably don't know precisely what the users want. I find that a lot of us are really bad at getting requirements. We don't, many of us don't do QFDs, where we have our users rank the kinds of things, the kinds of alternatives that we can give them. Nor do we ask them context-free questions, which allow us to get at requirements in yet a different way.
Carol: Now, you said QFD. Can you just explain that for our listeners?
Johanna: Sure. That's Quality Function Deployment. And that's a way of… If you've ever seen these little houses, with the dark circles and the somewhat dark circles and the open circles, that's where there are these houses where you say, "Here's the kinds of things we can offer you as an alternative. Here's what our competitors do. Rank these, tell us what's most important." And so you end up with a mathematical ranking of what's most important for your customers. And I think that context-free questions first, asking people what problem they want to solve, followed by QFD, is an incredibly powerful requirement solicitation technique, and I think one that too few of us use.
Carol: So we're really talking about getting back down into the software requirements. Actually having a business reason for doing things. And software won't necessarily solve it all. We're going to be back with more of Johanna Rothman, and I'm Carol Dekkers on Quality Plus e-Talk! Stay tuned.
And we're back. I'm Carol Dekkers of Quality Plus Technologies, and this is Quality Plus e-Talk! with Carol Dekkers. We've been talking a lot to Johanna Rothman, this week's guest. And I have to remind people that are listening that Johanna Rothman's session last season was actually one of the most popular. We got outstanding reviews for Johanna's insight, and the fact that she's been sharing a lot of what she sees in organizations, with many people, at no cost, when it's in articles and that type of thing. Johanna also works, and she's offering a new workshop, a management practicum on the 9th to 11th of October in Boston. Isn't that true, Johanna?
Johanna: That's correct. We're hoping that managers of all sorts will come and share what their issues are. Because we can make real-time simulations and real-time experiential learnings happen there.
Carol: And if anyone's interested in signing up for that, or for more information, you can go to Johanna Rothman's Web site, which is jrothman.com. Before we went into break, we were talking about, I just mentioned, that software doesn't always meet these requirements. And I've seen and been in situations where the software developers are blamed. When you have a piece of software that comes out, and people say, "This cost the government…" or "It cost my organization $6 million to build, and it doesn't work like I want it." I'm going to ask what might