Why does a body of highly intelligent people, IT professionals allegedly renowned for their logical and systematic approach to problems, find it impossible to establish a genuinely sustainable and cumulative corpus of best practice, professional knowledge and lessons learned?
One of my favourite debating points at the moment is the question of how we can effectively transmit the perceived wisdom and hard-won practical experience from generation to generation of IT managers and directors.
This conundrum has taxed me for some time because I still can’t see any substantive evidence of a general willingness to build on the understanding of those who have gone before us – at least in the business critical realms of IT management and organisational development.
It’s almost as if we enjoy playing out the role of the headstrong, self-willed, eternal teenager, who won’t listen to advice and who doesn’t want to grow up. Ever.
Harsh words, perhaps, but very often the behaviour is a simple consequence of not knowing where to find a readily available fount of relevant IT management wisdom.
For sure, it is easy enough to find technical reference material by the bucket load. But it’s very hard to find a simple, practical guide to common IT management problems – and even harder to find such a guide that is widely recognised by practitioners as the standard reference.
Whereas, when Lawyers and Doctors are faced with a problem beyond their personal knowledge and experience, they have rapid recourse to whole libraries of precedent and advice, all properly indexed and neatly cross-referenced. Which is one of the basic reasons why those more mature and august professional bodies are usually better positioned to command and sustain a much higher level of personal and corporate credibility than those of us wallowing around in the mire of IT management.
So let’s all agree now that we want to stop making life harder for ourselves than it should be.
Let’s start sharing our experience within a properly structured framework.
That must be the best way for us to pass on those sparkling pearls of wisdom and to break the endless, costly cycle of always finding things out for ourselves the hard way.
Surely it’s long overdue for the multifarious IT membership associations and professional bodies to start working together, to really create a systematic and sustainable professional approach to managing technology.
Of course, this might require some people to move beyond their well-established comfort zones, of competition and isolationism, into that apparently dangerous minefield of co-operation, collaboration and consolidation.
We certainly have a lot of catching up to do if we are ever to realise our own professional aspirations, i.e. of IT genuinely being regarded as a profession rather than merely an extended cottage industry.
This catching up exercise will not be easy and will take some time to bear fruit. In the meantime, the cost of neglect will continue to hamper our professional development.
Isn’t it high time that we got ourselves better organised and properly equipped, with a real body of professional knowledge, to manage technology and technicians more effectively?