The technology of people versus the people of technology
I used to joke with colleagues that the reason I got into the technology space after university was because I was bad at managing people. Actually, I was pretty bad and over years I may have got a bit better, but still consider myself an acquired taste.
So the joke, as most are, is grounded in reality. People are rarely logical and are driven and compelled more by emotion then by purpose.
To me if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is probably a duck. I have no idea why businesses spend so much time trying to make things look different then they are to not be offensive – or honest – about what things are. Our preoccupation with not offending people drives people to not address the real issues.
Let’s take performance. Often managers use technology as a reason why they are underperforming and can’t get the job done: yet no one questions whether it is the application of technology or the incompetent use of it that is the problem.
When business requirements are being drawn up for new technology projects often discussions end up in a place where, in my view, business owners intentionally make the application more complex than it needs to be to have plausible denial. Then in the same breath they stutter and moan about signing off on these requirements because they are not prepared or even versed in taking accountability.
When the system then doesn’t meet the needs or is delayed or is over budget they then politely blame the technology (not the architect) and are quick to distance themselves from any of that blame.
My point is that people are so scared to fail in today’s world they remove the possibility of success.
They fail to see any potential reward as they are too risk adverse and cannot fathom putting themselves in a role of accountability.
Furthermore, they are too scared to enter into a healthy debate about what is working or not working that they won’t call their colleagues out and are far too gentle in the way they manage relationships. So much so that the real story is never real and the perception is always false.
I know one thing about technology is that if you develop systems and processes on false perceptions the end product will never address the reality you live in. It is time for people in technology and for that matter business to grow up and stand up. Be counted, be convicted, be effective and be real.
I started in a world where bits and bites were the basis of computer systems and operations. That each process or transaction had a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ response and there was no grey area or ‘maybe’.
The technology of people is impacting the technology for the people and that bothers me.
The Naked CIO is an anonymous technology executive.
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