It was 2009 when Mark and I had yet another meeting where we had to answer to questions about the cost of one of our software projects. Why this change the customer requested was more expensive than the other one. Whether we could do it in two instead of four months, and so on. And then it dawned on us. The entire problem was that making software was just too complex.
Everything Out There
Whenever I encounter a problem, I always think that it is very likely I am not the first one to run into it. And that means that there is a solution out there, ready to be used. So we started doing some research into the tools that were available to make software without programming. Because someone must have solved this before, right?
To our surprise, this was not the case. There had been many valiant efforts, such as BeInformed, Pega Systems, Cordys and many others. The solutions actually date as far back as Microsoft’s Basic, which was meant to be readable to mere mortals instead of only IT specialists. But ultimately, all these tools failed. All of them solve a part of the problem, but they all require a lot of technical knowledge.
Our measuring stick was how well Mark would be able to use it, having no programming knowledge. And these tools were all way too complex, requiring a huge time investment to be able to use them adequately. Even if you did have programming knowledge…
Getting on the Tram
After being so disappointed with the solutions available, we decided to make our own. And the main thing for any journey is to have a clear picture of where it is you are going. The route is just a means to get to your destination. And that meant we had to capture our idea in a single, simple vision. It turned out to be the bus.
Imagine your day has just come to an end. It was a busy day, which started with a customer meeting in the morning, then a few short internal project meetings, lunch with your boss and the afternoon was spent finishing an important project report. You turn off your computer, and head out satisfied.
You walk to the tram stop (I live in Amsterdam, where most people either bike or go by public transportation) and wait for the tram. As you are waiting you have an idea! It is just a small change in the software, but will save a lot of time. DING! The tram’s here.
As soon as you’re on the tram, you take out your smartphone. You fire up Triggre, and make the adjustment in a few minutes, and immediately publish them. You get off the tram, satisfied with another small but important change made to your business process. Just like yesterday.