/ Designing Tech

Technology Crusades

We have a serious challenge in IT. It seems just as we come to understand a new technology, it changes or becomes obsolete. It is no wonder that we develop emotional attachments to certain solutions. The struggle to reach comprehension and understanding of a technology before it is obsolete is taxing, and at least to the individual, represents a notable accomplishment. This emotional bond to “our” technology or methodology can become a passion that is almost religious—at least in how much we resist when somebody suggests a change, or in essence asks us to convert to a new religion we know nothing about.

When viewed through this perspective, the world of Information Technology becomes a vast tapestry of medieval dogma. Technologies, hardware, software, methodologies, and even specific ways of implementing hardware and software become the doctrines of these sects, and the practitioners—those people in the IT industry—become crusaders trying for the aggressive conversion.

Recognizing and understanding how people can become attached to technology and will fight for or against it with the vehemence of a 12th-century crusader is key to being able to maintain objectivity. Statistics, experts, and standards are rallied by these crusaders to match any technical argument. Just look hard enough—the internet is ripe with a variety of opinions backed by a little bit of truth. Any number of blogs can be harvested, and most vendors have a library of such scripture, or apocryphal texts on their competitors called “kill sheets.”

While this sort of analogy seems a bit light-hearted, it is a very solid way of explaining the emotions and mind-sets we can slide into, if we are not careful.

For instance, if you have one server administrator who prefers brand-A of hardware, and another who prefers brand-B, be prepared for a battle when you have to purchase new hardware. Each administrator will present a laundry list of reasons to purchase one platform over the other, backed up with case studies, kill sheets, and market research to prove their case. The decision maker is usually left standing in the middle, feeling torn between two people.

The emotion we put into our technology decisions is difficult to overcome, because it is based in fear. We know how much effort we spent selecting the technology we like. We know how well it works for us. If we discard what we worked on, then we wasted our time and the company's, and consequently, if we wasted the company's time—is our job necessary?

It may not be logical, but these emotions are there, nonetheless.

This is an excerpt from the book: Stop Fearing IT

Brandon Gillespie

Brandon Gillespie

Brandon loves Tech and has a breadth of experience including hands-on Implementation and Leadership Roles across many companies including small startups, enterprises, and the USAF.

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