We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. These are our values and principles.
Source: Manifesto for Agile Software Development
As a 15 year IT professional I’ve had the great pleasure of encountering many technologies and aspects of the industry. My work is a great joy to me.
It wasn’t always that way and I think many people feel the same way. When we first entered the working world we were just relieved to have employment. We never dreamed a whole entire organization of mature employees could ever grow to depend on someone so inconsequential as ourselves. In other words, we had no idea how to make an impact.
Fast forward a few years and some trends in the IT industry have really shifted the paradigms. IT is a core competency of the business. Even if you think your business has nothing to do with technology, chances are computers still run everything behind the scenes. Use a mobile smart phone? thoughts so 🙂
This means that we technical people go to work everyday knowing we’re absolutely relied upon to help make the business operation run smoothly.
Does that mean we’re actually achieving anything to help move the business forward?
The answer is, all the firefighting and back slapping we do most often does nothing to advance the strategic mission.
What’s the mission?
If the mission is to make money and turn a profit, then I’m sorry to say but most of my peers have failed in in this test. They’ve come to equate being busy with being important. Their bosses however, continue to recognize and reward them for the late nights and quip “Couldn’t have done it without ya!”
Well chances are the late nights are caused by the IT pros to begin with because they work in silos and concoct monstrous apps and environments that don’t play nicely and outsiders don’t stand a chance of understanding to troubleshoot. Is this what success looks like?
More recently the concept of DevOps which links the notion of throughput (think automotive manufacturing) has made IT professionals reconsider their importance and value to the firm.
We hear it all the time now. Unplanned is the enemy of planned. IT pros shouldn’t be going to work to fix what’s broken. They should have built in security, self-healing and fault tolerance so their time is spent advancing the business mandates instead of attending to unplanned emergencies.
Technologies and frameworks like Cloud and Agile are paving the way for a true DevOps revolution and it may leave many the legacy IT pros wondering where their industry has gone. Chances are all their friends went into other strategic and operations roles that didn’t have the word Microsoft, Cisco, admin or engineer in the title. The people who know how to truly use tech do so as a tool to help them run their companies, not just run the rest of the tech.
The Agile manifesto is one the biggest pieces of this puzzle. It addresses a fundamental psychology flaw in IT pros, the problem always resides with the user. “So and so broke such and such”. Agile shifts the focus directly on the needs of the user (user story) to create the perfect products for them. It relies on self-organizing cross functional teams to be creative and provide the next solutions with greatest business value.
If you have the discipline to apply the principal (ie: don’t fill idle time with clandestine project) then you can’t help but put down your tools and get connected with the business before you pick the tools up again.
The main take away is I see IT pros doing as much harm as they do good. If they would apply the Agile Manifesto to their career they would never had the problem of feeling disconnected from the business ever again.
As my dad ALWAYS says, “If you’ve dug yourself into a hole, put down the shovel.”