Sunday, June 28, 2009

Essence of IT

Last week I got into a discussion where folks were defending a SDLC process and stating that the process is great however the practitioners were not good in implementing the process. Hold On! Practitioners are not good in implementing a process? Can we ask a junior programmer to implement best practices like design patterns and ask him or her to code to the Model View Controller (MVC) paradigm? I, personally, expect a junior programmer to create a class (sorry using Java lingo since I work with Java) and to implement a driver method in "public static void main (String[] args){}" where the programmer will write multiple lines of code starting with System.out.println.

My big problem with the statement, "the process is fine but the practitioners are not", is that in the short term it is easier to change a process than to change human resources. If you state that the process is fine but the practitioners aren't then it is time for you to move to the white ivory tower in the IT Neverland and think why isn't anyone coming to the tower. The process maybe fine however if no one is using it then it is time to alter the process, get people to use the process and slowly but surely move the process to its original state. If people think that the SDLC is too complicated then simplify it and get project managers (PMP certifcated or not) to start using it. Get them excited and let them suggest changes in improving it. This way they think they are the agents of change but it infact they are maturing and appreciating a well defined process. This is of course that the practitioners do know something about their domain. If you gave me a copy of Microsoft Project when I was a freshman in college and ask me to manage a $250,000 project with 3 developer then I would now say no process would have helped me since I was clueless. If a person is in a leadership role in a IT department then he should know something about the IT domain like system development. I am not going to ask my wife to lead a system development project since she has never been associated with IT systems other than using the internet.

In conclusion, the essence of IT is the people who work in the IT department. Lets respect them and give them some credit. If they cannot do their job then it is time to train them and give them a second opportunity. If they still cannot do their job after training then it is time for them to get out of IT. I hear Obama is asking for volunteers to work in the community.

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