Brad Hinton has an item On customer experience for information and knowledge projects. This is a telling example of the opposite of what we'd like to see:
I was talking yesterday afternoon with a professional colleague lamenting the difficulties of information management implementations. He was asking (rhetorically) why it was so difficult to get implementations to work when the project plan and methodology had been so carefully worked out. And how come there was still confusion about workflow and work policies and procedures when the vendor-client relationship had been so professionally managed by the systems and implementation team (of one). He sighed deeply, shook his head, and said: “and now we have the system and we’re well into the implementation, but after that we need to start the change management process!”
Brad's post focuses on the idea of customer experience and he makes the connection between being aware of what your customers / colleagues / clients need and how you might go about designing the project.
I really like this connection between "good experience" and the development of viable project plans that get to the heart of creating a change within the organization. Otherwise, why bother doing the project to begin with.
The long and short is that the project must account for the needs and concerns of the people who are expected to be impacted by the project, even if these people aren't going to "do" the project itself. It is these people who know the rules and justifications for the way things happen today. Why would we avoid talking to them to find the speed bumps and shortcuts that exist within the organization?