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Future Era of IT Professionals...

Future Era of IT Professionals...

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  • 1. The Future of IT Professionals (if they have one) OTUG March 21, 2006 Dr. dave west
  • 2. Good news (Bad news)
    • There will be a future (the threat of avian programmer flu pandemic has been vastly exaggerated)
    • The dot com recession has ended (excepting a few “Googles”, the dot com excitement is largely gone as well)
    • IT jobs are increasing in number (mostly offshore and/or via HB1 visa increases – most of you are not smart enough for Bill)
    • 34% of all software projects are completed and used by customer (usually late and over budget)
    • Platforms are smaller, faster, cheaper (still powered by Windows)
    • Agile / Lean development is sweeping the industry (at least 14% of all IT shops use some agile / lean practices)
  • 3. Survey Says!
    • 2500 sent, 1427 returned (Feb/March 2005)
    • 43% would choose profession again
    • 5% made the world a better place
    • 74% salary stagnant / declining
    • 63% felt negative consequences from off-shoring
    • 9% satisfied with day-to-day process / method
    • 21% take great pride in the quality of their work
  • 4. Baseline 2006
    • IT Doesn’t matter
    • IT professionals are commodities
    • Management / User perspective
    • Popular Perceptions
  • 5. IT Doesn’t Matter
    • Nicholas G Carr, Harvard Business Review, 2003
    • Main arguments
      • IT is cheap and ubiquitous
      • IT is a utility – no longer of strategic value
      • IT management should
        • Spend less
        • Follow, don’t lead
        • Focus on vulnerabilities, not opportunities
  • 6. IT doesn’t Matter - Rebuttal
    • John Seeley Brown, John Hagel III
    • IT by itself, rarely if ever, confers strategic advantage
    • IT is inherently strategic because it creates possibilities and options
    • Main points
      • Extracting value from IT requires innovations in business practices
      • IT’s economic impact comes from incremental innovations rather than “big bang” initiatives (“fiasco” of ERP / CRM projects)
      • The strategic impact of IT investments comes from the cumulative effect of sustained initiatives to innovate business practices in the near term (emergence)
    • Strategic value comes from “radical incrementalism”
  • 7. IT Doesn’t Matter - Aside
    • Done versus said
      • Few companies welcome (foster) innovation
      • Most companies act as if they believe that new tech equates to new strategy
      • Most companies, and professionals, reject new ideas, new possibilities: instead adopt “syntactic veneer”
      • Bang! Is still norm
      • “ Solutions” that inhibit / prevent innovation in business practice preferred over those that enable
      • “ Thriving on chaos” is still largely a corporate business myth
      • “ CYA is our most valuable resource.”
  • 8. IT Professionals are Commodities
    • Outsourcing (Offshore) – 700 pound gorilla
    • What
      • IT – data entry, programming, OS / network admin / DBA, support
      • Other – back office, clinical trials, applications and claims processing, filings, market research, legal (scientific research)
    • Why
      • Cost (64%), productivity (8%), turnaround speed (3%), quality (3%)
    • We’ll adopt Java because everyone else is, so there will always be a lot of java programmers and we can get them at a rate of a dime a dozen
    • Fungible, components to development teams (method used to force square pegs into round holes)
    • HR restrictions – individual differences are impossible, distinctions only on “objective” criteria, e.g. certificates
  • 9. Management / User Perspective
    • Management
      • IT “necessary evil”
      • Cost of doing business
      • Hard to manage
      • Contributes little to bottom line
    • Users
      • “irritating tax levied an almost every aspect of life”
      • Why Things Don’t Work
  • 10. Popular Perceptions
    • Geek Squad
    • CS is hard, boring, and “done in India”
      • University enrollments dropped 10-50% / year the past five years
    • It’s (still) a boy thing
    • Cannot name / identify “good” software
    • “bad” software is everywhere
    • An absence of heroes / heroines / mythic figures
  • 11. Where did we go wrong
    • IT is the computer
    • Bad! Bad human!
    • If it cannot be measured it is not real
    • Control, centralization, integration
    • Greatest generation
  • 12. IT is the computer
    • Dahlbom & Mathiassen – The Future of Our Profession
      • Mechanistic dominant
        • Focus = artifact, approach = construction, role = engineer
        • Formality (of definition / specification, process)
      • Need more romanticism
        • Focus = culture, approach = interpretation, role = facilitator
    • MDA - epitome of the abstracted machine
  • 13. Bad!! Bad human!
    • Original sin
      • Are humans innately evil but capable of redemption, or innately good but subject to corruption?
    • Taylorism and scientific management
    • Automatic programming – CASE / repository - formal software engineering
  • 14. If it cannot be measured it is not real
    • Productivity
      • LOC / developer
      • Stories completed
      • Tests passed
    • Quality
      • Defects / LOC
      • Passed tests
      • (elegance, durability, suitability, likeability)
    • CMM, ISO9000, …
      • Delivered software statistically identical to all other software
  • 15. Control, Centralization, Integration
    • Examples
      • Architecture
        • 55% of all programs use PSC architecture
        • 30% have no architecture
      • Database
      • ERP / CRM
    • Monolithic, expensive to change, example of Bang! Solutions
      • Business straight jackets
  • 16. Greatest Generation
    • Mobilization
      • overnight armies
    • Manhattan project
      • Big bang thinking
    • GI Bill
      • Education factories
  • 17. Alternative Future – Stay the Course
    • Dilbert
    • Commoditization
      • blue vest with a smiley button for all
    • Certification
      • No programmer left behind (It’s the test, stupid!)
    • Google envy
  • 18. Alternative Future – radical realization
    • Key ideas
    • Change of focus
    • Redefine profession
    • Re-conceptualize the professional
    • Education
    • The “C” word
  • 19. Key ideas
    • Silver Bullet – better people
    • Methodology – iterative / incremental
    • Process – applied reflection
    • Software Engineering – simplest thing that could possibly work
    • Objects – anthropomorphization
    • Agile / XP – story
    • Lean - only that which adds value
  • 20. Objects and Stories
    • Object = character
      • Fundamental unit of decomposition and understanding – NOT programming
    • Story
      • Cast of characters
      • Context (snapshot of characters in context)
      • Interactions, communications (arbitrarily bounded – e.g. index card rule)
      • Result = changes in the state[s] of characters or context
    • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • 21. Change of Focus
    • System – not artifact
      • Complicated (dead) versus complex (living)
      • Reality construction
    • Radical incrementalism
      • Story not project
      • Nominal expense not capital improvement
      • Incremental return on investment
    • Domain - not implementation
      • Problem understanding defines solution
      • All implementations are “trivial”
  • 22. Redefine Profession
    • Definition – metaphor
      • Medicine, horticulture
        • sacred (opposite of profane) responsibility
        • Do no harm
        • Eschew intrusion (e.g. surgery)
        • Focus / pay attention to side effects - holism
    • Practice
      • Reclaim ownership of tools, skills, practices
    • Community
      • Guild, (cult), peer derived reputation, culture
  • 23. Re-conceptualize the Professional
    • Deshi, sensei, master, arhat
    • By their works shall you know them
    • Linda Evans, not Sigourney Weaver
    • Grasshopper, Paladin, Dan Ingalls
      • Situational awareness
      • Right (non-attached) action
      • catalyst
  • 24. Education
    • Experience based – studio
    • Iterative, incremental
    • Just-in-time, theory last
    • One-room schoolhouse
    • Teams
    • Retrospective / introspective
  • 25. What we are doing in NM
  • 26. The “C” word
    • Culture (not certification)
      • Shared world view
      • Common mythology (including heroic figures)
    • Enculturation
      • Schools (ashrams)
      • Professional society – organization
      • Conferences
  • 27. OTUG – Agile 2006 - OOPSLA
    • Separation (opening prayer)
    • Re-identification, Re-recognition (rituals, hymns, testimony)
    • Re-purposing (homily – story about us)
    • Education / growth (sermon)
    • Affirmation (ritual, hymns, responsorials)
    • Re-integration (closing prayer, socialization)

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