Part 5 of 5 for the September edition of "Converging over Coffee"
Infrastructure, at the end of the day, serves people & serves society. That is what is at stake beyond owner goals, beyond organizational alignment, beyond externally oriented partners, and beyond even stakeholders. The final fit is about the users.
At first, this sounds a little obvious... If not for the users, then who? The truth is that quite often infrastructure work is centered around the owner's needs even though the ultimate beneficiary isn't the owner but the people/public at large. Many owner requirements are more about operational needs than end-user benefits. This isn't always problematic, but it does mean that we are usually one step removed from being conscious about why the infrastructure is even needed.
Once the infrastructure need is established, funding secured & project requirements written, years & years of development work begin. Those all-important years could be valuable time spent engaging end-users, evolving our understanding and getting closer to meeting their needs. Or they could be the most dangerous period in the infrastructure implementation cycle where we disconnect from the "why", drift & erode away end-user value bit by bit.