The Problem with IT, Part I
There have been a number of comments on a recent post that have glanced sidelong at a problem domain with which I’m reasonably familiar… and since we have a number of digital gearheads who comment frequently on this blog, I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to start a series of posts about technology.
Not fun technology.
No games or silly gadgets or even really cool evil overlord bases or zombie survival houses – that’s all postworthy material but we’ll keep that to the proper locale. Actual technology that gets stuff done in organizations. Movers. Shakers. Candlestick makers.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts, I’ll offer a bit of a reading list as a first post. I can’t offer an explicit look at the last 15+ years of my working experience as a base to start this conversation, but I can give a list of things that I’ve read over the years that will start to frame a part of the conversation… for those people that may have read them.
This is not exhaustive, it’s just the books that happened to be on the bookshelf closest to my desk. Neither does it happen that I think all of these are of equal value (for example, I disagree with a bunch of Carr’s conclusions because I think his observations are in a limited context). But every once in a while I wonder what other people would offer as recommended reading if I was to take up their job… and since this series was kicked off by Jaybird’s comment: “One of my friends recently asked what classes I took to become a system administrator…”
… here’s a beginner’s reading list for “How to be a Systems Administrator”. If I can ever get my Amazon Affiliateness squared away, links will be added.
- “The Design of Everyday Things“, Norman, ISBN 978-0-465-06710-7
- “The Sciences of the Artificial“, Simon, ISBN 0-262-19374-4
- “Working Minds: A Practitioner’s Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis“, Crandall, Klein, & Hoffman ISBN 978-0-262-03351-0
- “An Introduction to General Systems Thinking“, Weinberg, IBSN 0-932633-49-8
- “General Principles of Systems Design“, Weinberg & Weinberg, ISBN 0-932633-07-2
- “Bringing Design to Software“, Winograd, IBSN 0-201-85491-0
- “Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming“, Seibel (interviewing Everybody Else), ISBN 978-1-4302-1949-1
Building Stuff (With Other People, for Actual People) or Managing People (to Build Stuff) or Recognizing When Your Boss Is Bad At Their Job
- “Making Things Happen“, Berkun, ISBN 978-0-596-51771-7
- “The Mythical Man-Month“, Brooks, ISBN 0-201-83595-9
- “Managing Humans“, Lopp ISBN 978-1590598443
- “Agile Software Development“, Cockburn, ISBN 0-201-699699
- “Professional Software Development“, McConnell, ISBN 978-0321193674
- “Real-life Knowledge Management: Lessons from the Field”, Kazi & Wolf, ISBN 952-5004-72-4
Building Stuff (that Fails Safe) or Mitigating Horror (by Building Stuff Correctly) or Dealing with People (Who Are Panicked)
- “Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis“, ISBN 0-321-01349-2
- “The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership Under Pressure“, Boin, Hart, Stern, & Sundelius ISBN 978-0-521-84537-9
- “Managing Crises Before They Happen, Mitroff & Anagnos”, ISBN 0-8144-0563-0
- “Crisis Management: Planning for the Inevitable“, Fink, 978-0-595-09079-2
- “The Essentials of Risk Management“, Crouhy, Galai, & Mark, ISBN 0-07-142966-2
Dealing With Stuff (That Other People Built) or Managing Things (That Other People are Building)
- “Global Information Technology Outsourcing: In Search of Business Advantage“, Lacity & Willcocks, ISBN 0-471-89959-3
- “Does IT Matter?“, Carr, ISBN 1-59139-444-9
How To Speak to the Non-IT (Business-Type, Primarily) Folk