Lately, my country, like the rest of the World, is trying to tackle the challenges that the COVID-19 brings to humanity.
The government has decided to distribute tourist vouchers to the citizens. On a conceptual level, the goal of this decision is to help national tourism, but at the same time to help some low-income citizens to spend their summer vacation at some of the tourist destinations in the country.
They have launched a project called “Дома си е дома” #ДомаСиЕДома (English translation: “No place like home”). The project got its website (https://domasiedoma.gov.mk/) that looks solid, but what happened?
One of the photos on the homepage that should promote Macedonian Tourism illustrates the nature, but not the nature from Macedonia or Macedonian tourist destination. The photo was taken by Simon Migaj and the destination is a lake in Germany.
The project tries to promote Macedonian tourism, and its website illustrates the idea with non-Macedonian photos. Strange, right?
After the photographer has found his photography on the domasiedoma.gov.mk website, he decided to make a comment on some of his social network profiles. After that, his comment becomes viral very quickly. This was followed by an avalanche of comments on social media from disgruntled citizens, mainly against the Macedonian government.
The government has the ultimate responsibility, but this situation shows something else.
I can recognize the lack of project management or product management that has to be applied by the service provider.
Check some great product management books.
Who is Responsible for Non-Technical Aspects?
A project team responsible for developing the software solution, regardless of the size of the project, has to be capable of covering business, project, its functional and technical perspective.
In an ideal scenario, the team has to cover the above-mentioned perspectives by different team members. Depending on the project, sometimes, some of the perspectives need to be covered by more than one person.
For the previously described scenario, the responsible person for the business and its functional perspective didn’t manage to raise a “red flag” about the illustrations on the website homepage..
It seems that the developer did not care too much about the business context when he decided to use that photo. Despite the technical quality and nature of the photo, the illustration does not follow the business context of the website.
But that’s not the primary focus of the technical person, even though the main objective is to present the beauty of a national tourist destination in a case when the website writes about national tourism.
An illustration placed of a user interface is not only an aesthetic element, (edX UX Courses) but it also provides useful information to the user. The following statement confirms what has been written in the previous sentence: “A picture is worth a thousand words“.
The second level of quality check is a Tester or a Quality Assurance Specialist. I would expect an Intermediate Tester to spot a “stock photo” that is not in a line with the message that the website should bring to the users. Imagine that the illustration must be transformed into words and then to put those words beside the text onto the same page. How it will sound if you transform the photo from Simon into “Lake in Germany” and put those words along with “Helping Macedonian Tourism”. Doesn’t make sense, right?
Another level of check should be made by a business analyst or a product owner, responsible to articulate the functional scope and the one who must make a connection between the business requests or the business context and the technical solution.
A Project Manager is a role that has to take care of the business perspective on a certain level. In a case wherein the project manager role is merged in a way with Business Analyst, Requirements Specialist, or Product Manager role, it must take care for details such as, whether the illustration is in the context of the service offered from the website or not.
Even more, a Project Manager should prevent the project’s risks. It’s responsible for articulating the project scope, including taking care for all other members to receive everything they need so they can do their job with a certain level of quality. In our example, it would be expected a project manager to purchase high-quality photos from a local photographer who owns outstanding photos from Macedonian tourist destinations. By this approach, the project manager would :
- help a local photographer to earn some money (helping the national economy);
- respect the copyrights of the author/photographer;
- receive an original and authentic illustration for the website;
- receive the most relevant photos for the website;
The marrow of the story
The essence should always be more important than the form. A technical solution has to provide business value.