Kevin Cheng  

Polishing the Brass

October 18th, 2003 by Kevin Cheng :: see related comic

Continuing Tom’s TUBA discussion. Tom and I had a few more conversations about extending and applying the system. We’re exploring this idea as we go so these thoughts and processes are by no means formalized.

The questions we wanted to answer were:

  • Who would want to use this system?
  • When should you do the scoring?
  • How would you get the score?
  • What do you do with the score?
    and just to be complete,

  • Why use this scoring scheme?

I think Tom has covered the Why to some degree so let’s look at the rest of the questions.Who would want to use this system?
The requirements, marketing and project decision makers who will decide whether an idea should even proceed.

When should you do the scoring?
Before project staffing, during development, and after development.

How would you get the score?
Tom demonstrated that one could roughly approximate scores for products. If you’re simply trying to determine what score you would like to achieve for success, you can look at your competition and rate those.

Alternatively, you could sample a set of users and ask them to score along a Likert scaled questionnaire. Each axis would have a number of questions associated with its category. Take into account factors such as your target audience (you can’t have Joe Schmoe rate the innovation of Apache) and projected audience size (advertising score requirement is likely to be directly correlated with audience size). This sampling technique could be used on products in the same space as your planned project. Your final product could also be rated in this manner.

What do you do with the score?
Prior to staffing a project, a TUBA score could give you a really good idea of whether you want to pursue the project at all. It’s easy to say, “we need usability! we need marketing! we need engineers!” but how many, if any at all? If your core competencies just don’t match the profile of your strong competitors, you either need to look at hiring in that competency quickly or adjust your strategy/product. The TUBA score can give you an idea of where to focus.

What you do with the TUBA score during development is ensure you are tracking towards the right type of product. Compare the score of the product in development with the target scores you created initially. Many factors play into feature prioritization. TUBA can be used as one of those factors.

So can I use TUBA?
As I said, we are toying with ideas on how to formally implement this system to achieve more concrete and scientific results. We’re also thinking about ways we can model the relationships and correlations between some of the axes (Tom’s example of T and U’s ties, for instance). If you decide to try out the system, please let us know and keep us posted on the successes and issues you encounter.

2 Responses to “Polishing the Brass”
MeriBlog wrote:

The Importance of Training … and Why It Is Not Enough

Training is a fantastic idea. In order to secure real adoption from any workforce, or actual realisation of software’s worth, it is an absolute necessity. But it is not the be-all and end-all and it is definitely NOT a replacement…

Roomba Review wrote:

Just wondering if anything came of this? Is this discussed further anywhere else?


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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?