September 08, 2010Tony Newpower
It takes flexible thinking to maintain a culture of innovation.
As another school year rapidly approaches and I once again marvel at how quickly my kids are growing up, I can’t help but realize how much events in one’s professional life reflect those in one’s personal life, but with a few interesting differences. For example, we all know that at some point, our kids will reach the age where it’s off to college, time to find a job, travel the world, etc. In other words, they are growing up and beginning their lives as adults.
All parents go through this at some point. You’ve done your job: you’ve raised them, given them your love and attention — and then you send them off to make their own mark in the world. In the world of technology though, a very different relationship exists when it comes to some engineers and their inventions. Oftentimes in this industry you’ll see individuals cling to outmoded or obsolete technology longer than they should simply because it’s their own creation.
Instead of letting go and moving on, we somehow think this chunk of code can be ‘re-factored’ or ‘extended’ to do something it was never intended to do. (The same applies to HW, btw) In all the years I’ve been in this industry, the number of times I’ve seen this drama play out is amazing.
Why someone would be fine with sending their own flesh and blood out into the world on their own, but would ferociously cling to an inanimate collection of 1s and 0s is beyond me. It’s the equivalent of having a live-at-home 35 year old child!
But worse than that, this type of behavior costs companies untold sums of cash in the form of mis-directed development costs to sustain a doomed idea for the satisfaction of that idea’s ‘parent.’ There’s enough real work to be done out there and, as a group, we need to focus on what matters and let go of the things that don’t.
Have you seen this behavior in your workplace? Feel free to share your stories here!
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