The power of “Why”

Posted on Saturday, January 23, 2010


I recently came across this comic strip from one of the old news papers. It aptly represents the power of why. Many times when we face a client situation in which want to ask the business drivers [why] behind the system being built. Most of the times we would rather not ask the “why” lest the client should consider it to be rude. Believe me it is not.

Anyway, we decided to challenge this opinion and it was very encouraging.

One of the stories in our organization goes like this. There was a client A who wanted to build a website so that he could launch his event. He wanted people to come to his website and register for the event that he was planning to hold. He had planned for a dynamic website with all the details about the event, user registration, personalization and all the bells and whistles that you could think of. The problem was that the event was supposed to happen in 2 weeks and there was no one who could promise them what they wanted within that time. This is when we got involved and asked the magical “Why”.

  • Why do you want to the website built?
  • Client A : So that people can register for the event.
  • Do you want them to register online?
  • Client A : No they would get the details and call a number to register
  • If we put all the details on one page with the number to call, would that suffice?
  • Client A : Hmm, i would have liked a spiffy site… but yes that would suffice.

So we built this one pager with all the details and a number to call. The website was a static page and received huge number of hits and people called the number to register. The end result was a successful event.

So the moral of the story is that whenever you get into a situation where you have a slightest doubt about the validity of the idea, ask Why. It is going to open more doors and the world would become much simpler!

Posted in: Agile