I work for a fortune 500 company that owns many brands. For this one
particular one, we are building a consumer portal that will allow them to
pay for their services online and see their next scheduled service time. At
first release they can't do much more than that. Getting any usability
testing done here is like pulling teeth - nobody ever wants to pay a dime
for it and deadlines never are allowed to have much time for it. This in
spite of the fact it has been show to be worthwhile in the past (which is
why they continue to allow it in its compressed form).
Anyway, we're setting up a simple one day session to test potential and
actual (probably 3 and 3) customers. This makes perfect sense of course and
should give us some good data. However, the internal client is also
basically forcing us to go a local branch and test it on the people there.
So think branch manager, couple sales guys, maybe a couple techs. These
people will never log on or see the system we are building. They will not be
users of the system in any way.
We've initially tried to say no to this, since our deadlines are already
unrealistic and we saw little value in doing it. However they have been
adamant in us doing this. So I suppose my question is how can I at least
take advantage of this to improve the product? Or, do you think it's even
possible? Is there a more effective way to talk these people out of this
than just saying we don't think they really fit the bill since they are not
users? Or am I missing something of value here?
Keep in mind that this particular company is very much out of step with
their customers and their needs and they see everything from a
company-centric point of view, even when they claim to be concerned about