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In the software development planet, it’s common to get a client request asking something like: “please change the module behavior and make it do so and so”. Five years ago, I would have implemented such requests. But now I would ask: why do you want to do so? What are you trying to achieve with the new behavior. Knowing the reason helps not only understanding the business behind the request, but also brainstorming and getting even better solutions.

Let me give you a simple – but real – example of how searching for the “why” resulted in a better solution and getting more client satisfaction.

We were responsible for building a website for one of the NGOs, which contains different fund raising programs through offline and online donations. Each program page consists of a program description part at the top of the page (rich text content describing the program, history and ways to give), followed by an online donation form.

Two months after launching the website we got a client request: “please move the donation form to the very top of the page and make the description goes below”. Such a request would have been implemented in 30 minutes easily, but we stopped for a moment and asked ourselves: “why would the client want this?”

After a phone call we figured out that there is an online campaign on a specific program focusing on online donations, and the client wanted to make sure the form is the first thing the users will see when they land to the program page.

When we knew that, we simply created anchor tags and gave the client an anchor link asking them to use it for the marketing of this online campaign. This anchor link simply lands to the program page and directly jumping to the donation form at the bottom achieving the client need, and at the same time keeping the normal flow for the site users – who want to get information about the site. And I bet that the client would have reverted to the old way of displaying a program once the campaign is over.

There are a lot of creative solutions that emerge when the client and the developer know why a request is requested. Trust me, a lot of alternatives will appear at this point, and you can choose one solution that satisfies the client needs as well as the development needs. So don’t ever claim that “the client wants it that way!”

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