Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Next New thing – that’s the problem!

I am confident I have found a Holy Grail. The root cause of most project failures and the main ingredient for the mess we have, and continue to have around Enterprise Applications and Integration. Scarily, I also think new projects, and even SOA are likely to suffer from the same root cause and will NOT be the panacea everyone hoped for. We are seeing evidence of that now. I see no big fix on the Horizon either, for future projects in IT and the types of problems we have today, will be the same problems we’ll have 10 years from now! Am I sticking my neck out here?

When I look back, since I started in IT 30 years ago, there has always been the “next new thing” in technology. This fact is not disputed but the penny dropped for me last year when I thought about the relationship to this fact when you add one other major ingredient – PEOPLE.

Is it not true that most people working in technology and especially in some form of development, only want to be working on the next “new thing”? Is it not also true, these same people get bored really quickly with the “new thing”, often before it even gets “old”.

Smart people in technology get bored at around the 18 month marker and want to be working on the next “new thing”. This is my Holy Grail and I am not sure that it’s ever going to be fixable. At least acknowledging this fact should allow us to prepare for it!

18 months is not long enough for most projects, not even close and if the smart people who started them are not around for the completion, testing, roll-out and continued evolution of the applications, it is no wonder the expectations are rarely met.

You can certainly do no wrong by breaking down projects into smaller pieces where feasible. This will help and that’s certainly a prospect of SOA, if done right. For Quick wins, look to smaller projects and products that can consume these “new” services from existing applications!

This Holy Grail is good for companies like mine, that will help the tens of thousands of companies that have hundreds of thousands of applications that need to be enhanced to do more now than what was originally delivered. The fact OpenSpan can take 25 year old and 1 week old applications/technologies and tie them together to deliver what users need today, goes a long way to allowing the “Next New Thing” projects to finally exceed original expectations.

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