If you are working within one company, doing internal development, getting user adoption is usually pretty easy. The Vice President of operations says something like:
“We wrote some software you need to process claims. Use it.”
And people use it. They may not like it, but they use it.
Likewise, if you are making an application that will be /paid for/ by an executive, adoption is similarly easy. You sell the executive, he pays for it, a memo goes out that says “henceforth, all email will be done by Lotus Notes.”
In both cases, you’ve got a monopoly.
But sometimes, you don’t have a monopoly. Say you are selling software to individuals, or perhaps giving away a product or service for free in the hopes that it will be used so wildly that customer organization will want to purchase support – even if they already have have some competing product.
In that case, the words of jwz, (mild obscentiy warning after the link) – you’ve got make software people actually want.
It turns out, that’s the trick. Make software people will actually want to use.
You say, “but Matt, that’s so obvious!” – if it’s so obvious, why don’t more people do it?
Twitter and Facebook don’t have workflow policies. They have open ended ways of helping people get stuff done.
Just something to think about.
Update: I could add that facebook might not even help you get stuff done! Yet it stuck anyway. Other updates: Beautiful Testing II coming next week. As for the scholarship, talk to the people at SoftwareTestingClub.com; they’ve allready got the money. 🙂