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I recently watched a presentation by Kathy Sierra at the Business of Software conference (start at 22:18). Her core message was to “make software that makes experts”. If a software application moves the user from capable to expert, it should succeed.

I love the premise.

For DocBoss, our users come from two camps. The first are the document controllers – whether they have a team they are trying to develop, or if they are just trying to scale the amount of work they can do (without making mistakes). Second are the project engineers – people who are not specifically focused (or enjoy) document control, but have to do it as part of their project execution.
It made me ask – what would I expect from an expert document controller. Laughably, I settled on control of the type A variety (not my deepest insight – but valid nonetheless). Knowing exactly what they need to deliver at the outset of the job; meticulously adjusting the document register as the bill of materials changes; being unapologetically rigid in their commitment to process (like updating transmittal logs immediately upon sending documents, adhering to defined workflows, using automation to avoid typos in document names, tags, etc). As a result, they minimize impact on other departments and over deliver to their customers and their management. They always know where everything is – at all times.

After watching the talk, I’m even more interested in what makes a document controller an “expert document controller”, and how we can help the non-experts improve.