investigating radically simple IT!

Some business mag articles are insightful; others are as wasteful a time as listening to a broken record. Today for lunch I was at my second-closest Barnes & Noble Starbucks waiting to try out the new honey latte when I spied an IT article in the Harvard Business Review: Radically Simple IT (requires $$). “Oh neat.”

(Of note, I can pick up a copy and read the articles for free at the store, but I can’t get them online…meh.)

I skim the article and while I would love to read specifics on what Shinsei Bank did to be radically simple in their path-based approach to IT projects, I instead was bored to tears reading business cliche after business cliche after vague generalization (yes even generalizations can be vague) after fluff after fluff… It uses a lot of words and pages to esssentially say: “Be smarter about IT projects. Do better, more intensity, more cowbell!”

The mashed synopsis can be found online; I suggest reading it and wondering if that says anything new. I’ll answer that and say, “Nope, nothing new.”

Shinsei Bank, from the sound of the article, was in an enviable position from the eyes of us IT guys. They got to spend $55 million in a year to replace an antiquated IT infrastructure with a new enterprise system (whatever the hell that means) Well, I think many people would love to have the opportunity to flush it all away and start their operations anew. How often does that happen? Not often enough!

Fine, the article does have some good points later on when it talks about how to build IT. Things like minimal standards, simple architecture, and listening to users. But that’s pretty common sense, if you ask me. Anyone who has planned a system of any type, and had to live with the results knows these things (sorry consultants, sometimes your ideas suck when you live with them for years!).

The nonsense about “forging with business” instead of “aligning with business” basically makes me want to drown a kitten with my honey latte…stop reinventing terms for vague crap. Just say, “align with business with more intensity!” Or better yet, just stick to “align with business.”

Trying to move a project ahead with less requirements is simply asking for future finger-pointing from just about everyone. The reason we have so many damned requirements is due to the blame game that ensues after an IT project finishes and it’s not perfect for everyone everywhere for the unforeseeable future. But that’s really a corporate culture or management personality thing.

That’s my rant for this week; surprising since it’s been a relatively low-key week in which I’m beginning to build my next gaming machine…