If you take the personal perspective of Web performance pain, the risk not finding the real problem, the true cause of the pain.
Talking to customers at all levels of organizations has shown that when you ask "where it hurts", they can tell you exactly what they want you to work on. And once you solve that problem, you get another person from the same organization with a different pain coming to you, complaining that you have ignored them.
A whole-organization focus is required when working to solve a customers Web performance pain. And it starts by asking questions of everyone in a company, not just the one who came to you for the initial diagnosis. Different groups at different levels have different questions.
Here's a (very basic) list of some of those that you should be prepared to answer as you work to diagnose a company's Web performance issues.
- How am I doing against my competitors?
- How does performance affect my revenue?
- If I want to use the Web for more revenue, what do I need to do to make it work?
- How does Mobile deliver what I need?
- How much will it cost me to deliver the necessary Web performance?
- What is critical for me to deliver now, and what can I delay until the next budget cycle?
- How do I ensure that Web performance issues don't affect revenue?
- Are my partners helping or hindering us?
- How do I get Marketing to the table to understand the technology boundaries we have?
- How do I effectively use the Web without alienating customers with slow performance?
- How do I ensure that our design is delivered appropriately to both fixed-Web and mobile users?
- What parts of the site are customers unsatisfied with due to performance?
- Do my promotions scale to handle the surge in customers?
- How do I get Operations to understand that delivering new experiences with leading-edge technology is critical for us to be successful?
- I spend most of my time on troubleshooting conference calls. How can I reduce this drain on my time and resources?
- My team spends most of its time trying to correlate data between 5 different systems. Help!
- The latest design is putting a massive strain on our infrastructure. Didn't anyone test this on the production servers before it went live?
- I know that we need to take a load of our servers, but I don't know how to choose a CDN. What do I need to do?
Operations Staff, NOC
- Man, I get a lot of alerts. How do I tell which ones I need to care about?
- This sure looks like a problem. How do I show the appropriate folks that this issue is their responsibility?
- Most of the time, the issues I investigate are with one third-party. Who is responsible for fixing this and does it really affect customers?
- I get bonused on fast MTTR. How can I figure out what the problem is faster?
In the sections above, notice that none of the questions need to be answered with product descriptions. Companies are desperate to understand not how other companies deployed the latest Kazoo to solve their Waka-waka problem, but how they made life easier and more manageable.
Coming to the customer with an open mind and a listening ear is the new hallmark of Web performance.