Look at the above poll, isn't it beautiful?
So Dubai Municipality decided to poll us (consultants and contractors) about their new and state-of-the-art online service: submission of drawings. It seems they're placing a new poll every other day. Every new poll will touch upon a different and distinct step in the long process of online licensing. DM is suddenly interested in our opinions. I salute them for this. It's really commendable.
But the real question is, how do they discern the problem behind the problem just by looking at the result of the poll? take the above one for example: if you, as a consultant, have a problem then it's either 'big' or 'small'. But then you have the option of 'interruptions'; one has to wonder under what classification does 'interruption' fall? big problem or small problem?
Something tells me nobody is taking these polls seriously, on both side of the track. DM wants to give us the impression that our voice is valued, and consultants want to let off some steam. You can always predict the outcome of these polls, 'big problems' is the constant mantra.
And this step in particular is one that is very tangible and measurable for them. The process of 'stamping and printing of drawings' is not one cohesive job. It's the DM who stamps (an electronic seal whose exact location on a sheet beats the precision of nuclear clock.) And it's us who print them after we downloaded from the website. So one has to wonder whether DM is worried about our plotters and printing skills? because on the other hand, it's rather easy for them to find out whether the stamping process is problematic. A sheet, when approved, is either stamped or not. And when it isn't, the concerned consultant will have to go back to the concerned DM engineer and request him to get the said sheet stamped again. So it's really rather easy for DM to find out.
A better feedback strategy would have been to give the option of 'others, specify'. This way you won't only probe the level of satisfaction about your services, you'd also learn why your customers, allegedly us consultants, aren't happy with your services.
Of course, the DM website offers the 'Have Your Say' service too. You can write letters and express your consternation or admiration for anything that has anything to do with DM. You could call them and leave an audio message. But the said messages take ages to process, because they don't automatically go to the respective section. While the above poll is closely supervised by the Building Permit & Control Section. I have a hunch that the entire polling thing is an idea initiated by the software developer (a third party company who was commissioned by DM to bring these services online.) They probably have an obligatory procedure in their ISO guidelines which compels them to poll the users of their systems. In that case I'm really not interested in telling a third party how better they could do their job. There has to be, in my humble opinion, a dedicated engineer in DM who should, for a certain period of time, do nothing but monitor the process, register the errors and tries to troubleshoot. The trouble we usually face is that the engineer, who we are complaining to about the online process, is the same one who's also reviewing our projects and others. They simply don't have time to stop and smell the roses.
Finally, I'm going to be honest with you; the real reason why I write these critiques of DM on my blog and incognito is that it's not always healthy to criticise DM face to face. We're on constant interaction with them. I don't know if this is an Arab thing, but no one will take any word of criticism with a sportive spirit. So I'd rather sit here and opine behind my veil of anonymity, hoping against hope that somebody is reading.