Friday, March 22, 2013

The Slow IT Movement

If you haven't read about +Rob England 's SlowIT philosophy, I highly recommend that you go over to his blog and read up. He's really on to something here.

When I first read his ideas about slowing down, I completely agreed but didn't fully understand exactly why. His latest post on "The mad competitive scramble" cemented it for me. Its a cultural problem and it is poisonous. I look at it from a purely practitioner's perspective and often the mad dash to the next project is intoxicating or is forced on the IT staff. Since I don't have the 10000' view he has (nor the experience) I didn't fully appreciate how toxic the culture that brings about the scramble he's talking about.

The IT department is just like any other department. It's a tool for the business just like the accounting, HR, or any other departments. The purpose is to get the work done and maintain the viability of the organization.

I've been on the insider and consultant side of things and I cannot count the number of times I've had to reign in users and decision makers. Slow down. Let's look at the value/use cases/purpose/master plan/etc. Decision makers are often very good at seeing the big picture of an organization but seem to be inherently terrible at seeing the big picture of technology. To me it seems that the older folks in those positions are still mystified by tech and the younger decision makers learned all the wrong theories in school about tech. Understanding how tech fits into business isn't rocket science. It just takes a level headed approach and some basic knowledge about how it works.

Be competitive on your own terms (and speed). Learn to be good at customer service. Stop trying to change to compete.

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