What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by estherschi » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 01:47:36


I'm writing another article in my "Getting Clueful" series at CIO.com,
in which I ask practitioners to share their recommendations to the
boss. Earlier articles have included Getting Clueful: Seven Things the
CIO Should Know About Telecommuting ( http://www.yqcomputer.com/
108501), Getting Clueful: 7 Things CIOs Should Know About Agile
Development ( http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ), Five Things You
Should Know About Fighting Spam ( http://www.yqcomputer.com/ )...
and more. Darnit, I write a lot.

This time, I'm tackling the relationship between IT Management and
developers (in which I include documentation, testing, and anything
else related to getting the application's bits in the proper
configuration).

The question is simple --

If you could get your CIO (or IT manager or big cheese at the client)
to understand one thing, just ONE THING, about managing and motivating
developers, what would it be?

And --

Why did you pick THAT?

I intentionally leave this wide open so that you can remark on
anything that gets you passionate.

I realize you probably have more than one thing on your list. But by
insisting that you give me just ONE answer, I can prioritize the key
elements. Then I can compile the responses (as I did in those previous
articles) and maybe, just maybe, bring an additional ohm of
enlightenment to a few more corporate big cheeses. Perhaps it will be
yours.

To include your response in the article, I need your name, title, and
company (and perhaps a short description of the company if it isn't
obvious, such as "a software consulting firm" or "manufacturer of
plastic boxes"). Also, I'm collecting input until the middle of next
week; after that, I'll need to hunker down and compile/write.

While there's probably value in a public discussion (and I'll be sure
to check back), it's also okay to contact me privately if you prefer
at XXXX@XXXXX.COM .

Esther Schindler
senior online editor, CIO.com
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by moi » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 02:09:10


Just to increase your cluefulness: you seem to assume that I know what a
CIO *is*. And moreover: you seem to assume that your definition fits
everywhere. It doesn't. For me a CIO is a "Clueless Intelligence
Officer", which is the highest rank in the secret service.

Please enlighten me with your definition,
AvK

 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by Ed Procha » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 04:54:41


Throw out the prototype!

This is the one thing I wish a previous manager understood. The kinds
of programming shortcuts often taken to get a proof of concept or
prototype working result in a system that is not scalable, difficult
to debug, and horrendous to maintain/enhance.

Ed (email me for company details)
 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by Logan Sha » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 09:56:30


From the context, it's easy to tell that it's something that is
more or less synonymous with "IT manager or big cheese at the client",
since the text of the original posting says "CIO (or IT manager
or big cheese at the client)".

Since the army doesn't have clients, usually, I'd say that from
context alone, you can assume it isn't something related specifically
to the army.


Well, a Chief Information Officer is an officer, which means he
holds an office/position/role within some organization. And since
he's the *chief* information officer, that implies he's pretty high
up in the hierarchy, probably the highest out of some significant
subset of the people. The "information" part is a more vague.
It could mean a lot of things, but since we're in a newsgroup about
programming and since IT was also mentioned, it's reasonable to
conclude that the "Information" in "Chief Information Officer"
could refer to the same thing as the "Information" in "Information
Technology".

So basically, a CIO is some organization's head of information
technology.

Of course that's only true to the extent that there is any sort
of universal or meaningful definition of any job title. Maybe
other countries are different, but here in the US, organizations
are fond of making up almost completely meaningless job titles.


It's only assuming the "One and Only American Business Model"
to exist in areas/contexts where people care about or could
meaningfully contribute to a magazine called "CIO". For what
it's worth, a little googling shows indicates the abbreviation
"CIO" seems to be in fairly common use in the USA, in Great
Britain, and in Australia (i.e. there are hits on sites under
.com, .co.uk, and .com.au).


The goal was presumably to reach an audience that was the
intersection of the set of people who know about programming
the set of people who've had to deal with a CIO. Contacting
people from either set seems like a reasonable route to take.

- Logan
 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by Malcolm Mc » Sat, 29 Mar 2008 04:51:49


Software is malleable. Often we can add buttons or fucntions, or change the
way something works, at quite a late stage of development. For instnace if
users find the mouse too awkward to draw lines with, we can probably convert
those lines to curves with editable nodes, without too many changes to the
rest of the program.

However it is not infinitely malleable. Projects tend to fail when someone
in authority, who is not directly involved in code, has the power to insist
on late changes to the specification. The problem is that the change can
usually be accommodated, but at cost of degrading the structure of the rest
of the code. So bugs appear elsewhere, and eventually the project fails.
I've seen this countless times with games - the companies I worked for are
now bankrupt.


--
Free games and programming goodies.
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~bgy1mm
 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by Richard He » Sat, 29 Mar 2008 05:00:13

Malcolm McLean said:

<snip>


These are the same companies that showed contempt for their customers by
passing off any and all bugs as "dirty disc"? If so, I won't be shedding
any tears for them. A company that lies to its customers deserves to fail.

--
Richard Heathfield < http://www.yqcomputer.com/ >
Email: -http://www. +rjh@
Google users: < http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ;
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by Ed Procha » Sat, 29 Mar 2008 05:45:30


yes.

As a friend tends to say it: We can do anything in software. The
impossible just takes longer.
Of course this is a sarcastic remark intended to convey the danger of
complete flexibility.
Ed
 
 
 

What ONE thing should the CIO understand about managing/motivating developers?

Post by Malcolm Mc » Sat, 29 Mar 2008 05:51:40


That was Sega. Which is still in business though much reduced from what once
was. The actual games were written by small software houses until a few
years ago. Now mostly they've either gone bust or been bought out. The days
when you could get some mates together and make a blockbuster are now gone
:-(

--
Free games and programming goodies.
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~bgy1mm