While I was fighting the snow late last week in our blizzard-hit little town along the Delaware river, pure war was being waged in the office that I work in. Since my colleagues live closer to work, and not in an semi-exotic location that is snow-covered, they still went into work. And while my mobile phone was running on its last bit of battery power without means of reloading it, I received a distress call from one of my colleagues.
Since I have been working in IT, somehow work is usually a fight, having to prove your point. In IT it is a problem that a lot of people want to have input in things that are outside of their expertise area, and they go far to defend it. I always have to defend my choice of working with Flash with editors and server-side programmers, because they all know a friend or relative ‘who also works with design’ that says I should use Silverlight/html5/dhtml/ajax. But even that is fine, because that is usually easily explained why I decide for the use of Flash, which is a well motivated reason. If there is still doubt, it is only then that I will use my position as VP of the company to say it is the platform of choice, just like a windows server platform.
But the problem is more or less that what happens if the CEO of the company uses his/her position to try to overrule the platform of choice. I hate corporate politics, because the whole reason why there are different VP’s in a company, is because they should be the ones with knowledge about a certain area, that a CEO does not, or does not want to carry any responsibility for.
So, this call that came in, the mentioned distress call, was about a request being given by the CEO to overrule the choice of platform. Even then, fine, but we are already working with this platform for 4 years, with a whole architecture running fine on it. And this is not the first time, but the so manieth. So I have to give it to my colleagues here, who understand why things are working that way and that in our situation, it is the right way to do it, and they defended it to help prevent to have the CEO make a major mistake. I need to mention that the CEO is not a person with a history in IT and technology.
Maybe it is also good I was not there, because for me that would mean flat-out war, I am fairly clear about that. If a decision has been made, and development is taking place, you cannot just come back on that decision. I take pride in my work, and am working because I like the work, not because I need to do this work. It is still beyond my comprehension why you always have to be able to be a conflict- strategist to do IT work. Conflicts always burn up most of the time, money and motivation of any IT project.
Then, when I reflect that with a weekend I shared with my wife this weekend, where she runs her own store; there is a complete other world. Order, quiet, nice. Sigh, why can’t a project run like that for once in a while. It would save so much money, so much time, it would be perfect.