Administrative Back End
A database-driven application, including a content management system (CMS), is only as useful as its administrative back end. If administrative users can get their jobs done effectively, the application can be a success in the long run.
Processes first, then interface
We begin by mapping processes - the behaviors of actual users, what they actually do, not just what their managers think they should do.
Our outlook is that the application is adding the most value when the user is in the thick of the action, solving problems and getting things done. So we make a special effort to work "form the inside out" -- to make sure that plenty of attention is paid to those central parts of user operations.
We engage real users throughout the development process, to assure that their needs drive the development.
An added plus: better database design
We find that a hidden benefit of this approach -- user-centered and iterative -- is that it focuses and re-focuses attention on the real entity relationships within the database. So an added benefit of this approach is increased database quality.