I’m currently involved in a project for Missing People Sweden (MPS). MPS is organizes volunteers to do big search operation for lost people. I was one of the volunteers last fall and saw first hand what a huge task it was to organize all the people and search area. So I went online the same night and wrote a blog entry on my Swedish blog. I questioned why no one could help this organisation with some technical support and build them a system to take care of all this. That’s how Missing People Sweden Techsupport was born. First we got put of by the organisation due to an other company that wanted to build it for them. A few month later they delivered a system that was unusable!
So once again I reached out to my contacts in the business and asked them to join me in my quest for this. Unfortunately many of them was busy on other projects or didn’t have the drive anymore after being put of the first time. But i managed to get the best project manager I ever worked with to join in. We got a MVC programmer and a jQuery guy on board. We had a few meetings with the, not so technical guys, at MPS. So they din’t know tech so well but they are really good at finding people. So we asked them what they needed, what would help them. A few meetings in I felt that we needed to show them something, show that we do stuff not just talk. So I made a quick demo of how we could help them do search segments on a map. Using Google Maps API and some spare time I made a really easy prof of concept.
The other system delivered to them, that they discarded, was 1000 man hours of development. This demo I made was 2 hours of work one night. It has now been used several times to do maps for them when actually looking for real lost people. My point here is to really listen to the customer and give them what they need not what you think they need or whats cool to do with tech!