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The top 20 IT mistakes to avoid

Posted by malcolmdavis on December 12, 2004 at 9:39 PM PST

You may be able to pick your favorite pet peeve from a range of IT issues in InfoWorlds article "The top 20 IT mistakes to avoid". Some of mine include mismanaging software development, developing web apps for IE only, and clinging to prior solutions.

My hot button is the management of software development. For decades, the mishandling of software development has been a major theme in the software industry. Even after the countless research studies, books, and employee protests at the water cooler, businesses still don’t get it.

The ignorance is demonstrated in just about everything from HR personnel to management’s structure of development organizations. The typical HR people are geared toward reading bullet items on resumes, not recognizing talent. Management sees the need to put in some type of hierarchal structures rather than put in true employee measurements.

I was informed by a software veteran of 30 years, that the biggest change they had noticed was the ratio of junior programmers to senior developers. When they first started, there was one junior to several senior developers. By the time they had left the profession, there were 4 or 5 junior to every 1 senior developer. This ratio helped neither the junior developer that needed the attention, nor the senior developer that eventually spent a large amount of his time educating developers.

Another striking trend I’ve seen over the last 15 years is the number of people doing programming that don’t enjoy programming. One person even told me that he was ‘too socialable’ to be a programmer, that all programmers are introverts. I kept my anti-social behavior to myself, avoiding standing up and throwing my chair at the buffoon, and simply asked him “why don’t you find something you enjoy doing?” If I go see a doctor, I hope he/she enjoys what they are doing. [Yes, they might dream of being an artist or pro golfer, but I hope they still enjoy their profession.]

I could go on and on about this subject, but the bottom line is that most management has very little exposure to development (even if they said they wrote code at one time). In my opinion, solving the software development problem would most likely solve most of the other issues on the list.

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