Sunday, February 11, 2007


What's more important for a sucessful project - is it people ? Or is it process / technology (in that with a certain set of technologies and processes, things become repeatable / predictable that the people do not matter anymore) ? I know, I know, its all three factors. However, I find over and over again, managers not paying attention to the people aspect of the equation.

We have all gone through the IT top talent recruiting paradigm. There is however, another angle to the people aspect. What makes better people ?

I have seen organizations that are so highly structured and specilialized in their jobs that they start showing two evils : 1> they no longer are downward scaleable 2> they lose the ability to solve problems efficiently (this shows up of course in my job area).

Here is why.

Imagine the role of a requirements analyst, architect, solution designer, component designer, developer, tester, configuration manager, application support, deployment manager ... the list goes on. Now overlay the technical development aspect with people who are specialized dbas, network designers, hardware / infrastructure designers, bea specialists, mq specialists, iis server/windows/asp specialists, c/c++/UNIX specialists, java/jvm specialists etc. You can start seeing the problem.

Problems usually go through a period of analysis (or finger pointing). This is where having skill sets that span the technology spectrum is important. The difference is night and day between the response time of resolution when you have a single person who knows BEA / Oracle / UNIX / Networking concepts vs. someone who only is a trained BEA person without a thorough knowledge of UNIX kernal parameters or networking concepts. Typically for any large IT organization, this will typically be a 4 or 5 person team.

I grew up in an environment where we executed projects e2e. We conceptualized, we presented, we sold, we interviewed, we architected, we designed, we developed, we tested, we deployed, we installed servers, we supported, we wore the pagers. On the technology side, we made the choices and had to live with them - no excuses. This gave us a very unique perspective.

There don't appear to be many people like me. The newer technologies are allowing people a level of abstraction that is a death sentence to any development that isn't absolutely no-brainer. I see this in the resume stream for even my top talent industry search.

So, is this what companies are breeding ? I don't see the flexibilities to grow across dimensions anymore .. where else are the kids going to get their experience from ?

This is one that does have a fix.

Milan Gupta


Vaghul Rajan said...

Hello Milan

Interesting write up. I am more keen to know how IT Top Talent search works.

To be precise, what it takes to get the authority to remove red tapes in an organization, which I believe is the key contributor (another being decision making) to detoriate any progress.

Can you please guide me?

Nithin Rajan said...

Yes, totally agree with you. I think this is more of an attitude thing that needs correction (and my guess is, this will naturally get corrected as the scene evolves). As the saying goes, "Specialization is for insects":-)