Turkeys and Christmas

Imagine in full Doolittle style you can speak to the animals.

Imagine further that you speak fluent turkey.

You visit some of the large turkey farms around the beginning of December and ask them to vote on what should be top of the Christmas menu.

Will they vote for turkey? or will they vote for anything but turkey?

(If you don’t eat turkey, and/or celebrate Christmas than substitute event and food of choice (vegetables are fine – our royal family are well known plant talkers)

Imagine you speak fluent IS department XAML jargon.

You visit you IS department at the start of next years budgeting round and ask them to vote on whether they should empower their business users by providing access to the tools and frameworks that the IS department currently only use themselves.

Will they vote themselves out of a job?

The best will understand that empowering the users helps everybody and will not lead to job losses in IS, it may even lead to more rewarding work for people throughout the organisation. There won’t be many of these though.

Most will vote to keep as much control as possible, so that would be no dev tools to users. They will continue quoting crazy money for internal projects. Thats not real money by the way, its cross charges, not real customers giving the company real money in return for providing them with something of value. More on that later.

Every organisation will have significant use of spreadsheet based systems, those that have an excessive dependency on them have an IS department rooted firmly in the second camp above. Those that use spreadsheets in conjunction with other best for the job tools (eg Access, ADO, COM, .net, etc etc) have a more enlightened IS department – these are great places to work.

I’ve worked in few of these great places anyone else?



6 Responses to “Turkeys and Christmas”

  1. Marcus Says:

    I’d question whether it was simply a matter of voting themselves out of a job. My accountant, for example, has nothing to fear – I use the tools he suggest to make my life easier, as well as his, and keep my accounting costs down in the process.

    There is a, I believe, a mutual distrust on both sides of the fence based on past experience. I don’t like my kids to cook in the kitchen by themselves for the same reason – it may save me time allowing them to prepare their own meals but it’s still me who has to clean up the aftermath. Just as the business has been burnt by ill fated IT projects, there’s surely just as many burn victims in the IT department.

    If a prior thread, Ross suggested the IT dept providing a test. On what? Sure I could demonstrate a knowledge of the language, maybe show some accreditation. Does that mean any development undertaken in the business complies with the organisations coding standards (if they have any), back-up procedures, code re-use policies, code base check-in/check-out procedures…

    “..I’ve worked in few of these great places anyone else?…”

    Yes – however this was typically in an environment whether there was a very supportive business manager who have the authority and clout to push the business agenda though IT dept objections. I had one It manager concede that my project was necessary but was deemed to be under the radar. As the IT dept had neither the time nor the resources (personnel or money) they provided enough resistance to demonstrate an air of due diligence but not enough to halt the project. Gobble, gobble, gobble…

    Regards – Marcus

  2. Johan Nordberg Says:

    You visit the best Excel blog any time of year and ask them to vote on what programming environment should be used for Excel development.

    Will they vote themselves out of a job?

    I can’t decide if this post is a post of complete self-knowledge or a total lack of self-knowledge. I don’t read any other blog that’s so utterly pro VBA. The only semi-positive post about VSTO got 1 comment. From me. But the VSTO rants get alot of hurrah! Then you blaim IS departments for defending the technoligies they know best? I don’t get it…

  3. Ross Says:

    >>Then you blaim IS departments for defending the technologies they know best? I don’t get it…

    I’m dot think thats the point, I think Simon is pointing out why the barriers exist, and why they are like to continue to exist. This is not a technology issues at all?

    It’s an interesting analogy Simon, what happens if everyone stops eating Turkey altogether?

    I don’t really understand some of IT’s issues, say for example, I write an application at home, and then E-mail or down load it, how has not having VS helped there.
    For apps that need to be installed/registered past the users level of rights they could get passed through the IT department (at cost) for approval and documentation?

    Re the test and so on, Marcus, I think a reasonable test could be set up, with all the things you mention. These issues are not unquie to programing, well maybe some of them are, but some of them are not.

  4. Simon Says:

    If you don’t think a lot of internal corp decisions are driven by fear and power battles, then you are lucky enough to have avoided some of poison cultures I have worked in.

    Johan I like the blog comparison. I’m not talking tech here, I’m talking big company politics. Its not the use of the tools its the refusal to let others use them. And the effects of that.

    Any department or person that feel the need to ‘defend’ indicates either a personal issue or a poor corporate culture.

    Ross my experience of IT departments is they are almost exclusively obstructive, they don’t need a reason to say no, its the default response.

    Turkeywise – it would all go to pig feed, IT wise, that is where we are at to a certain extent with spreadsheet hell.

    Having an MSc in software development, and 2 MCSD’s I would rather resent sitting some mickey mouse test that some IT turkey had cobbled (gobbled??) together off their JOS interview question collection. Unless perhaps they had higher qualifications, and could articulate the benefits to me and to the business of their test, and confirm all their department had passed it. And perhaps reciprocate with a business test, perhaps on valuations of complex financial instruments or something??

  5. Ross Says:

    If you drive a folk lift turk you have to have a license right? if your a doctor you have to have a MD right? If you work in Marketing you have to have a certificate that delaces you as a moron right :-), ans so on.
    Why not just say that Simon has a Msc in SWA from X, that’s on our list. If you not on our list maybe you can do this test, and get one there.
    Lorry drivers, drive up and down in a big cab all day, but they have to retake/top up there qualifications every 5 years or so. What do SWD have to do? Theres a lot of bad lorry drivers, theres a lot of bad software!

    Just a thought! It might be nice!

  6. Harlan Grove Says:

    I’ll paraphrase what I’ve written before, IT/IS departments want to avoid having to maintain applications developed by other departments, especially since few if any such applications have any documentation useful for figuring out how the application works and on what basis many of the design decisions were made.

    IOW, it’s not so much them wanting to stop us from doing our jobs as wanting to prevent parts of our jobs from becoming parts of theirs.

    Then again, there’s also the tendency to equate minimizing support costs with minimizig support calls, and the latter is most easily accomplished by giving non-IT/IS users as little software as possible and making it as difficult as possible for them to screw up their configurations. [Hence the most persuasive explanation for the ribbon I’ve seen.]

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