Software is everywhere, but you can’t see it. You know it’s in your phone, your computer, your home appliances and your electric meter, but do you know why? This article explores the reasons for the explosion of software.
Software is abstract, invisible and runs at extreme speeds. People who are good at building software have to possess talent at visualization and a willingness to use complex tools. When software developers become project managers (PMs), they rely on software tools to monitor, control and report on projects, just as non-technical PMs do. Problems technologists have as managers relate to people, including conflict, collaboration and just plain old listening well.
We tend to design things that are complex, and that can be our undoing.
Once we get over our wonder at the broad capabilities of software running on modern computers and devices, we begin to ask why so much of the software we use is of questionable quality. Between vulnerabilities to malware and constant updates to correct problems, it seems that software is never stable and reliable. Why?
Executives seem to agree that IT people – technicians and their leaders – do not understand the business very well. This causes all sorts of trouble when making financial decisions on major IT projects. Why don’t IT people “get” the business?
Maybe there’s something you can do about this.
Software is different from other technical stuff. It’s abstract, invisible, and runs at extremely high speed. So the people who are good at working with software tend to be different from “ordinary” engineers. They have to be good at visualizing the abstract processes and the mathematical algorithms that make up the procedures implemented in software. […]
The next time you hold a complicated piece of consumer electronics in your hand – such as your mobile phone – take a moment to reflect on its complexity and its simplicity. Encapsulating one of these in the other is an art.
Communicating with high-tech people is a challenge. Not only do they speak their own brand of jargon, they also tend to be very literal.
Typically, when the first working model of a new software system is shown to the people who asked for it, their reaction is: “Oh. I see what you have here, but what I really want is something different.”
Ask to be shown a working prototype often, so you can do course-corrections frequently. Prioritize the key features or results you need, and ask for frequent demonstrations of a working system.
Get IT out of its silo and into the main stream of your business. If you don’t understand what IT does, start asking questions. But don’t banish IT to the boondocks just because they’ve got a lot of funny-looking machinery in the closet. You need them and they need you. Start talking.
How do you find out if your development organization is functioning well? Naturally, if you are getting products out on time, consistently, and the world around you is happy with the results, you have nothing to worry about. But what if there ARE complaints? Can you determine whether you’re hearing gripes that have little to […]