Maybe I’m just from a Smiths-loving generation that rewards self-doubt and angst, but I had a great idea last week and it’s kind of a weird feeling.
Most of my good ideas work. They aren’t bolts of genius out of the blue, but a feeling that comes from years of doing this. Â They’ve been “I’ve worked with wood all my life to I know how to use this piece of wood” crafts-level kind of good ideas.
But last week, we were in a hole. Â We were converting 36,000 email accounts from an old HORDE-based system to a Gmail-based one. Â Our users are not always the most tech-savvy, so there was a lot of concern that switching from one system to another would be a support nightmare, along with looking like we didn’t care enough about the user when we switched. Â A technical issue popped up and we dealt with it, but in so doing, it caused us to stop and talk seriously about delaying the launch. Â We did our pros and cons lists of all the different options available but the process of talking it all out stopped marketing efforts because we might delay. Â It felt like runnning, hesitating for a step and not being able to break back into a run.
But there, in the middle of things, I had the idea to not delay the launch, but to keep the systems running concurrently for a month. Â The idea solved a lot of problems, top among which was that people wouldn’t panic if they knew they could access their email for an entire month in the old system. It would let us keep out launch date, decrease customer service needs to something very managable, and look like we were trying to put the customer first.
The more I explained it to people, the more I knew this was a silver-bullet solution perfect for what we wanted to accomplish. And it felt a little weird to feel proud of it (it’s my job to manage these things, right?). I was also feeling weird that I assumed that no one would know that it was a hell of an idea (though obvious in hindsight) and that it was mine.
But today, my boss mentioned in passing that it was a heck of a solution, so there you go.
It it feels good that I was able to pull all this off.
Tomorrow or the next day, I want to do a “Give It Away” about a plan to build a rogue site for work, if that appeals to anyone.