Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eight reasons CIOs think developers are clueless

I usually blog about things from a developer's perspective, so to give some balance here are some thoughts about how, according to some CIO's, developers need to gain the bigger-picture view of their organisations:

1. Developers Don't Think Practically

Developers often look for an elegant or slick solution to a problem, but they don't always look for the practical one.

2. Developers Still Don't See the End-User Perspective

"A development team can create an application that does everything from balance your checkbook to burning your toast, but if the user interface sucks, no one will use it-period. No amount of training or re-training will make users sign on to an application with a difficult UI. That simple concept seems to be a struggle for developers to understand."

3. Developers Can't Get Away from the "Wow" Factor

Developers love the "cool" or "wow" factor of applications. CIOs seek stability and standardization.

4. Developers Don't Think About ROI, TCO, and Other Business Priorities

"The developers have a limited number of tasks to do and can pretty much concentrate on one item. Many have spent their career focusing on the development of simple working units, not running a business."

5. Developers Don't Get the Underlying IT Value Proposition

The executives that CIOs have as customers are trying to get an answer, perform some function and get their jobs done. "IT to them is like electricity: they need it, but they don't appreciate it."

6. Developers Don't Have (or Want) Corporate Skillsets

"I think a survey would show that 80 percent of the CIOs that came up through IT to be a CIO came through the operations side."

7. Developers Aren't Into "Group Think"

"Each technical person is different and when asked individually you will find that they do not all share the group opinion, thus solving for the group's suggestions won't bring about all of the desired results."

8. Developers Don't Understand Staffing

One CIO says that developers think that profitable companies shouldn't have layoffs, which the CIO feels is clueless. "That's like saying as long as the flowers are growing, you shouldn't prune," the CIO says. "Efficient companies need prune back in areas they grow out of to preserve the strength of the overall company."

I don't agree with many of the above generalisations (are you surprised by that? :) ).

Some developers take a deep interest in a business, others may consider the work as just another job. That is not particular to developers.

It is in the interest of management to
facilitate getting developers and end-users working closely togther as it usually results in better outcomes. However, in many highly hierarchical and/or highly political work environments it is common practice for managers to keep developers and end-users apart so that all issues and decisions must flow through the manager; the manager often has an incentive (bonus, promotion, etc) to be seen as the driving force of an initiative.

I wasn't surprised by the suggestion that 80% of CIOs come up through the operations side of the businesses.

It's often useful to consider the other point of view :)

Tsunami Invisibility Cloak

An invisibility cloak for water waves

A really exciting invention is the above water "invisibility cloak". Based on research with bending waves of light around an object to make the object invisible, the same principles have been applied to bending waves of water around an object.

This technology could be applied on a medium scale to protect things like oil rigs from Tsunamis, and I wonder if a large variation of this could protect small islands?

The US government is behind the Nigerian email scam!

I had a suspicion the people behind the scam are not the poor Nigerians...

From: Henry Paulson
Date: 9/23/2008
Subject: Urgent transaction - need your help

Bright Greetings Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent and important business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for a large transfer of funds of 700 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with renowned Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren towallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive you’re information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Wonderful salutations to you cherish friend from Republic of America.

Yours Faithfully,
Minister of Treasury Paulson

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Using your mobile phone to automate proximity computer actions

A really interesting idea with lots of potential: using the Bluetooth device in your mobile phone your computer detects when you leave your desk or arrive back at your desk and takes pre-programmed actions, such as locking/unlocking the screen, performing backups, etc.

Integrating it with a clock and calender could lead to other possible applications such as auto-emailing people when you are headed to a meeting, emailing/IMing the wife when you are heading home, etc.

Anti-Theft Lunch Bag Deters Sandwich Thieves

Here is a simple but clever idea to keep people in the office from pinching your food (although they may instead throw it out!).

It reminds me of people I've met in the past who write disgusting things all over their favourite basketball or make their bikes ugly to deter people from stealing them.

I wonder if there are benefits to uglifying code? Hhhmmm...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

US election hots up: Palin in a bikini, Battlestar Galactica stars enter the race

The US presidential election continues to serve up all sorts of surprises.

Last year it looked like Bush and Cheney would ignore the constitution and make run for a third term.

Recently McCain made a bold choice in selecting a young-ish, female, gun-toting outsider as his Vice Presidential running mate.

And now inspired by McCain's Vietnam war experiences and hard line on terrorism a couple of the characters from Battlestar Galactica have thrown their hat into the ring.