A few years ago I advocated the addition of a Minister of IT to our government in a column. One of the main reasons for supporting this (or even being up for the position myself) is the apparent lack of thorough knowledge of information technology amongst our leaders. I still think that IT is so fundamental to our current society that there is no way of justifying having a Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports and not a Minister of IT.
But the times they are a-changing! (read that text when you don’t know it by heart)
According to this article the UK has a member of parliament who at least know a bit about what he is talking about. Besides this being the ultimate excuse for playing games this also made me think about applying this attitude in my own life and work.
When designing and implementing business software we talk to end users to gather feedback on our interpretation of the problem and solution. By doing this we slowly start to understand the end-user and become one ourselves. Especially during manual tests we play (pun intended) ‘end user’.
But aren’t we kidding ourselves this way? Did we ever use the software for real? Did we ever have to do the job of the end user? Did we ever try a software solution created by a third party?
Are we still using the same patterns, tools, libraries, languages, compilers, platforms, operating systems as we did a couple of years ago? If so, WHY? Did we examine new alternatives while being open to switch to these alternatives or are we old dogs with old tricks?