Friday, July 10, 2015

Millennial-ready + Boomer-sensitive

What does Millennial-ready mean?
How does a discipline, like Project Management or Reliability-Centered Maintenance, that has been built and modified over decades by Boomers and their predecessors, be made accessible to the kids of the Boomers?
Millennials have grown up with technology that did not exist when the Boomers developed their techniques and tools.  This has given them a completely different perspective on what makes an effective tool to enhance their work day and their work product.
Here are examples of the differences in Millennial and Boomer feature expectations in 2015.  These are based on my observations working with customers, contractors, consultants, vendors and associates over the last few years.
Feature
Boomer Expectation
Millennial Expectation
App flow
How the app appears to me
Menu driven
Top-down, numbered menu options help bring familiar order. One menu option can lead to an action – or another numbered menu of options.
Show only options that lead to something that I need.  No dead-ends.  My time is precious.
Never show an option that does not let me do something that gets me to my objective. Don’t make me decide!
Data Entry
How I prefer to enter data
Forms
Forms with entry fields nicely designed so that I can enter what needs to be entered.
I may skip over fields that are not important to me.
Small forms
If the form requires more space than on my smartphone screen – that’s too much!
You do the work to ensure that only the important stuff is required from me.  Default everything else.
Display of data
How I like to analyze my data
Spreadsheet-like table
I like to see my data in tables and to use order the columns or select data from the columns to help me understand my data.
Dashboard objects
Do the work to decide which graphical of drill-down tables I can see on my smartphone in order to get an understanding of key aspects of the data – information that I can use now to move the objective forward.
Reporting of data
How I would prefer to store my information
Tabular and Graphical ‘Hard Copy’ printed reports
PDFs that I can print and file for reference – this is a strong need.
PDF’s of HTML (web page) reports
I’ll likely not print these – so be sure to make this data available at any time that I’ll need it. 
Location of System
What makes me comfortable about my system
On-premise
I like having it on our company system.  This way nothing changes and I have total control.
Cloud-based
I like the fact that I need not hassle with any hardware, software or IT people to manage them.  I use a system in the cloud.  Updates happen automatically – my apps are updated to the latest version and this ensures that I am using the best and the latest – and I don’t even need to think about it.
Vendor Relationship
My interaction with the software solution vendor
Paid system support
I like being able to email or call the vendor when I run into issues.
I especially enjoy attending user conferences conducted by the vendor.
I’ll join local user groups for this software.
No support fee
I want to use my system to get results – not to have a relationship with a yet another company.  I want the vendor to go the extra mile to do what I want, and not bug me.  I also want to be able to easily request changes and get those changes or an acceptable workaround quickly – I don’t want to wait days to hear about the status of my request.  Basically, do it and don’t get in my face unnecessarily.
Integrated Business Solution
Apps that integrate with each other
Select apps
I’d like to select the apps I need and use my other systems and spreadsheets as I wish.  Integration is a good idea and I’m willing to run daily transfers as needed to move data between systems.
What I need, when I need it
Please don’t tell me that I don’t have an app that I need.  I prefer to have all options available, when I need them.  Keep the path smooth.  Do the analysis needed to ensure I have what I need, when I need it.  I’ll be happier with the system.
Communications and Collaboration
Working with others
Meetings
Want to get others on board? Have a meeting.  Want to ensure you don’t drop a ball? Have a meeting.  Invite everyone that is relevant.  Do you have 50 people in the meeting?  Reserve a bigger meeting room.  Order in donuts, sandwiches.

Facebook – type collaboration
Ensure that all relevant people are subscribers to a thread of discussion.  I hate repeating something for people who can’t make it to a meeting.  Besides, I hate meetings – they seldom use my time well.  Oh, and please don’t make me use my phone to call anyone – I prefer texting.
The big difference?
Mobility.  Millennials can, and want to, work anywhere – and at any time.
As every millennial is completely conversant with his/her mobile device, it’s a no-brainer to engage millennials using mobile apps of Android and Apple platforms at a minimum.
This is a tricky – and expensive – proposition as boomers are still the primary decision-makers in the areas of work, project and maintenance management.  Many boomers (certainly not all) wear their lack of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts as a badge of pride and honor!
The people responsible for the TeamWork Solutions suite of apps have sensitivity to Boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millennials, etc. – because that’s who we are!  Talk to us, or use a discussion thread, if we need to improve in any area and you will discover an attentive and action-oriented partner for your business needs.
Get TeamWork Solutions into your way of life.  You can save yourself a lot of trial and error – we’ve already been there, and done that.
Note: Tradenames used in this article are the property of their respective owners.

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