I'm So Glad We've Had This Time Together

Chris Gloede

I've been writing this column for four years now, and am fairly certain that you must be sick of me by now. Truth be told, it's been a lot of fun stirring up more than my share of hornet's nests. As I write this, my last column, it's with a certain degree of melancholy. I've enjoyed the experience, appreciated all of your feedback and certainly appreciated all of those who provided me with ideas and answered my questions over all this time.

I hope that this column has been of value to you. I've honestly tried to present as unbiased a view as I possibly could. Anyone who tells you that they're completely unbiased is either lying or not very bright. I will truly miss airing my grievances in such a venue, but other obligations call and time is short.

If you'll indulge me one last time, I'd like to leave you with a few thoughts--call them my "Ten Rules of Information Technology." Many of these are repeats from earlier columns, but I believe that they still warrant mentioning. I try to conduct myself according to them and believe that we would all be better off if more people would do the same.

1. Respect the opinions of those that work with and for you. You may not agree with them, but I have found some real gems amongst a large pile of rubbish.

2. Do not make IT decisions based on the flavor of the day. Base your IT decisions first on the real business need, then on practicality, then simplicity and then, technology. Following this rule will greatly simplify your life and provide a much more stable platform for your company.

3. Remember whom you work for. The reason we call them users is because that's who they are. Although it may often seem as though they are demanding and unyielding, how must we sound to them. I was recently engaged in a conversation with someone who said that they were using HTML and Java scripts rather than RPG to collect data across TCP/IP, and then parsed that data into a table. How must that sound to a real human being?

4. While on the subject of users, I find that they're much more receptive to change if I involve them in the change. Not that they should take complete control of projects, as they have little understanding of the ramifications of some of their decisions. But they should have their fair say, they should be actively involved in the processes and should have decisions explained (in English) so they know why we've changed their idea, or abandoned it completely.

5. Be careful whom you take advice from. Ask yourself what they know about your business, your company, your staff and its expertise before following their advice.

6. Take what you read from whence it comes. Remember that nearly everyone has an agenda, and regardless how noble the individual is, it always comes through. I cite white papers and industry analysts first on this list.

7. Remember that deploying solutions, especially advanced technology solutions, requires a great deal more than just loading and running. Carefully evaluate what you're getting yourself into and never underestimate the tasks needed to complete the project.

8. Be skeptical. If the technology, application, tool, solution, platform, or operating system appears to have everything you could ever want, is robust, well documented, and/or easy to use, something is dreadfully wrong with it.

9. Remember that you'll always get what you pay for. If the deal is too sweet to pass up, look for trouble. Especially in our industry, margins are too thin and competition too fierce. Quality costs.

10. Please don't take your job too seriously. I'm not suggesting taking a lackadaisical approach to anything, but for Pete's sake, lighten up folks. Too many people take themselves way too seriously.

Again, it truly has been a delight writing for you. I hope that you got some real value and maybe the occasional chuckle. Thank you.

Editor's Note: Chris Gloede leaves MIDRANGE Systems as a regular columnist after this issue. We will miss him, but wish him luck in his future endeavors. Any suggestions as to what sort of column should be run in its place would be appreciated. Please send any comments to amarucp@midrangesystems.com.