Neal Ford on Car Rental Counters, Enterprise IT, and Self-inflicted Complexity

Neal Ford has a good post recounting his experience at a car rental counter – the same experience I’ve had many times.

I too often wondered – why are they typing so much?

He ties this into the decisions made everyday in IT organizations at enterprises, which often yield self-inflicted complexity.

No one intends for it to happen, but then no one is standing up, challenging the decisions being made, and the work being produced. I’ve seen this over and over again in my years of working with large enterprise IT projects.  Neal says "Going back to first principles is hard". Yes, it is.

When I was in my first consulting job, on my very first assignment, doing at project at Sprint PCS, I was complaining to my boss about the assignment, and I said "but this is hard". He said "Did I (or anyone here) ever tell you or give you the impression that this job was easy?" Point taken. That interaction has stayed fresh in my mind ever since.

Yes, it’s hard. It’s hard not to take the easy way out. It’s hard to constantly challenge those around you. It’s hard to be challenged by those around you. It’s hard to constantly study, learn, and practice. You need to be prepared for the position you’re put in. Prepared with knowledge. Prepared with conviction.

I especially liked the comments left by Bob McCormick on Neal’s post. One in particular stood out:

The processes in most Enterprise IT environments are heavily driven be risk avoidance. *Not* the avoidance of risk for the Company, but avoidance of risk for the project sponsors and decision makers.

I’ve run into this risk avoidance scenario more than a few times myself.

Good stuff.