Don’t Blame The Technology

September 25, 2012

Poorly written code creates exceptions. Bad deployment extends service outages. SLA violated due to extreme acts of nature. Let’s face it, bad things happen as part of life, and also because people are human and mistakes are made along the way. An analogy may be made about going to restaurant and ordering some food, the entire dinner/experience depends on a chain of events starting from freshness of ingredients, to expertise in the kitchen, to something as simple as hospitality and greetings. When something goes awry at the restaurant… someone on the staff will take ownership and assume responsibility. Often with that, comes an apology and some immediate offer of amelioration. We’ve come to expect that as part of customer service. The same analogy quickly breaks down when applied to the technology industry. Ironically, when things go badly, we tend to blame the technology.

Imagine if a service staff at the restaurant told you that the meal wasn’t up to par because of the silverware selected, or blamed the salad on some beets, or told you how the oven didn’t bake the your slice of pizza just right? Or if the chef came out and explained that because he read Chef Daily’s suggestion of sous-vide being the future of cooking and funny how that didn’t make for a juicy, crunchy and tasty fried chicken? Diners wouldn’t stand for it. No way. Yet, both as consumers and as technologists, routinely, we hear and accept the lines of reasoning excuse of shifting the burden onto the technology itself. You’ve heard it before. Maybe you’ve done it yourself. It’s because Java does this. It’s because the framework did that. QA forgot to check for sub-feature Z. If only we had chosen native instead of HTML5. It’s completely absurd, and I’m over it.

It’s time we hold each other and the industry accountable, to what we agreed to deliver. It’s time to stop reducing the standard of excellence, after commitments and engagements have already been made. It’s not easy and we hate to break up the buddy-buddy [b]romance, force a little personal discomfort and call each other out when so-called subject matter experts [ that’s us, in the room ] make a mistake, or set the bar too low, or simply fail to deliver on execution. Good managers have to do this with their subordinates, and I’m saying that peers, as equals, have to do the same with each other. Think about, until we do that, there won’t be any real buy-in either because we’re willing to cut someone slack and accept sub-standard results. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of rubbery tasteless fried chicken.

Settings

Eddie is a technology enthusiast and a blogger, now, who loves all things Internet and mobile, as if those were two separate things. As part of feyn.com, he's looking to battle the forces of evil, fight crimes and purchase security upgrades to the Metaverse.