I was catching up on some podcasts today, and came across an episode on Career Opportunities that was “pulled from the archives”.
In A Tech in Every Meeting, Douglas calls for organizations to include a high-tech worker to be present at creative meetings. This would eliminate the need for your IT workers to come back to you after you’ve already gotten excited about an idea with the harsh reality of what is feasible. If they were there in the first place, they could be part of your planning, instead of getting branded as “negative”.
I remembered actually hearing this podcast the first time Douglas released it. Mostly, I remember agreeing with him completely, thinking that IT folks get a bad reputation for being negative, when in fact they just got brought to the game late, after momentum had started up.
Today, when I listened to it again, I had a different thought. It’s not that I don’t agree with Douglas, I still absolutely agree that the tech folks should be brought in early on a project. I just wonder if there aren’t some techs who have earned their reputation for being negative because, well, they are. They are afraid of losing their control with things like blogging, twitter or other Web 2.0 tools, and so they simply refuse to acknowledge how much these tools are enabling their users to be more efficient, and do more interesting work, for example. They misunderstand the balance between security and usability, or they refuse to look at providing information through a Facebook page, or other outlet, for fear of losing their website’s importance, etc.
Unfortunately, my years of working in IT and chatting with people outside of my own organization about how their IT departments work, have proven to me that there simply are some techs who would be negative even if they were in the early planning meetings, and probably work to actively discourage creativity in the interest of maintaining their own power. So if you’re going to be including your tech people to deal with the technical aspects of any project, make sure you get one who can be realistic, and work as part of the team. In other words, a “good” tech.
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