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The more things change - the more they stay the same

By wbsuth ·
I have been reading the various notes about what people think are the top 1 or 2 things that an IT professional needs. It occurs to me that these are the exact same things that we asked for 22 years ago when I started coding COBOL and Assembler on punched cards. Although in the "dark ages", the chasm between IT and management was even wider. In fact it was IT that was labeled as arrogant since we would "tell" the users what they needed - after all we were the IT department.

I think that there will ALWAYS be issues between technical people and non-technical people. There will always be management pushing unrealistic timelines. There will always be people whose need is the MOST IMPORTANT need on the planet.

Perhaps the solution is that we need more tekies in management. As a Director of Software Engineering, I get to sit at the CEO's table & I like to think that I have made some inroads into bridging the gap between IT and management in my organization.

The tension between IT and management is a good thing. It provides the checks and balances on both sides of the fence as well as provides some modest entertainment value if you have a warped enough sense of humor..... "You want what? When???" or my favorite, "What were you smoking when you agreed to provide THIS to the customer???"

Bill Sutherland

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Make that 37 years

by DC_GUY In reply to The more things change - ...

I can confirm that the time span in that sentence can be upgraded to "37 years" and it's still true.

We've been calling ourselves "software engineers" for about thirty years now. Yet the way we do our work more closely resembles that of a medieval artisan than the way other engineers work. We don't have any measurement tools. We can't estimate the cost and duration of a project with any reasonable level of accuracy no matter how many similar projects we've already done, because we're unable to learn from past failures and past successes. We accept vague customer requests and attempt to fulfill them using our intuition, instead of reviewing them and sending them back for correction and clarification. We allow the customers to change their minds three-quarters of the way through the project without revising the budget and schedule. We don't stop and have our work-to-date inspected by people with a talent for inspection. We wait until the product is nearly complete before we start looking for defects, and we expect the testing process to magically make the defects disappear. We've trained our customers to assume that our products will be full of undiscovered defects, some of which actually cause the product to fail catastrophically on its first day of use. We studiously avoid adopting or adapting any of the principles that work in other engineering disciplines, some of which -- such as architectural and civil engineering -- have been practiced for 6,000 years.

As I've said before, if the world's "plumbing infrastructure" were built to the standards of what we're calling the "information infrastructure," no one would be willing to remain in a bathroom after pulling the flush handle.

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