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The Small Things

One of the things that we constantly focus on at Safe Software are “the small things that matter.” Too often companies forget about the small improvements that affect all of...

One of the things that we constantly focus on at Safe Software are “the small things that matter.” Too often companies forget about the small improvements that affect all of their users and instead focus on the next big thing.  Look at any industry and you will find the companies that lead are those who focus on “the small things that matter.” This isn’t to say that they ignore the next big thing, but the industry leaders are tenacious when it comes to “the small things that matter.”

Look at any industry and you will find the companies that lead are those who focus on “the small things that matter.”

Software is no different.  As software applications mature (some say age), the tendency is to focus exclusively on that next big feature.  Over time these new features become more advanced and generally more obscure, catering to fewer and fewer power users.  The challenge is to critically look at your product and identify the most basic things and make them even more basic for all users.

Looking back at our last few releases of FME, one immediately notices that some of the “big” things have indeed been the “small” things.   We improved the authoring experience by removing the number of mouse clicks that a user needs to make to construct workspaces. The task of adding a transformer was reduced from 4 mouse movements to 1.   Not very big really until you consider that our users are creating thousands of workspaces every year and the most advanced workspaces have 1000’s of transformers! All of these small changes contribute to greater user productivity, and make it easier for new users to access the data they need.

On the topic of productivity we have also embarked on a “small thing” program to make data more quickly available.  This small thing is “performance” and our goal is that each FME release be faster than its predecessor.   Here I call it a “small thing” not because it is a small amount of effort required on our part, but because it is something that all users will benefit from by simply moving to the newest version of FME.

Like all things at Safe this “small thing” initiative relies on the partnership we cultivate with our users. To help us with this initiative we invite our users to identify for us any place where we are not faster than the previous release of FME.  Once identified we can then work to determine why we are slower and work to make it faster.

The invitation is open for users to identify all the things that we can do, both big and small, to make our products and service better, more productive, and more fun to use.  This invitation is also extended to those of you who aren’t FME users yet, to tell us what your data interoperability needs are so we can continue to deliver on our commitment to helping greater numbers of people access the spatial data they need.

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