Monday, August 07, 2006

Go and Sin no More

This double header by Jon Udell and Tom Yager from Infoworld is invaluable. I often spend a good deal of my time in high powered meetings trying to convince top staff that they can make their IT systems more efficient, and save the environment as well. Inevitably, what I seem to run up against is, as Yager call it, 'Religion'. He summarizes as thus:

It's hard not to become attached. There is comfort in reducing decisions to simple equations such as "PCs come from Compaq" and "enterprise software is written in Java." Bosses associate quick decision-making with competence. But when you make choices from prejudice, you're not just wasting your company's money, you're cheating yourself out of one of the better fringe benefits of working in IT: the delight of constant discovery and learning.

We all know that sometimes people get downright zealotic about certain IT things, and we know that the man in the mirror is also to blame. But moving to a sustainable computing environment requires a losing of the religion. It requires objectivity. And it requires being able to defend a long standing position better than "PCs come from Compaq". Not good enough.

Which is where Udell comes in. He recommends two books, Breaking the Spell and the Selfish Gene is suggest ways to model these types of reactions and work with them. Religions, for example, fall apart when put under the eye of the group lens. Perhaps the introduction of a corporate blog or wiki would help break down these old patterns.

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