Shantanu's Blog

Corporate Consultant

November 29, 2004


Top 20 IT mistakes to avoid

Here are excerpts from an interesting article "The top 20 IT mistakes to avoid", wirtten by InfoWorld's CTO Chad Dickerson.

The Top 20 mistakes can be grouped in 3 categories.
1. Technology
2. People
3. Approach

Here are techonlogical mistakes one may make...

a) Dismissing open source
Any technology that "works" is more important than the brand name.
Open source software is not inherently better than commercial software; it all depends on the problem to be solved and the maturity of the solution being considered.

b) Falling behind on emerging technologies
Staying current can prevent a disaster.

c) Underestimating PHP
IT managers who look only as far as J2EE and .Net when developing scalable Web apps are making a mistake by not taking a second look at scripting languages -- particularly PHP. This scripting language has been around for a decade now, and millions of Yahoo pages are served by PHP each day.
Rasmus Lerdorf, inventor of PHP, explains the architectural secret of PHP’s capability of scaling: "Scalability is gained by using a shared-nothing architecture where you can scale horizontally infinitely." The stateless "shared-nothing" architecture of PHP means that each request is handled independently of all others, and simple horizontal scaling means adding more boxes. Any bottlenecks are limited to scaling a back-end database.

Mistakes related to people:

a) Mismanaging software development
Planning software-development projects based on per-unit "man-months" ultimately does not work due to the unique nature of software development. The right individual will always create better and faster core software than a group of people. A great programmer is 100 times more valuable than a regular programmer. IT managers should devote most of their free time to [finding] the best people. Almost nothing else matters, really.

b) Promoting the wrong people
As CTO or CIO, rewarding your top technologist with a promotion to a management position might seem like the right thing to do. But when a technologist is not ready to give up constant, hands-on technology work in favor of more people-oriented management duties, it could be a mistake you’ll regret on many levels. Management training can help avoid such disasters. But use your gut.
Either the aptitude is there, or it isn’t.


The right approach is important:

a) Never sweating the small stuff
CTOs and CIOs like to talk about the strategic application of technology, but ignoring basic tactical issues can lead to simple but extremely costly mistakes. Missing a $30 domain name registration payment can be enough to grind your business to a halt. In one notorious example, last February a missed payment by The Washington Post knocked out employee e-mail for hours until the renewal was paid.

b) Clinging to prior solutions
A common mistake for IT managers moving into a new position at a new company is to try to force solutions and approaches that worked at a prior job into a new environment with different business and technology considerations.

c) Violating the KISS principle
Violating the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle is a systemic problem for IT. "hundreds of millions" of dollars are wasted on implementing, failing to implement, or supporting solutions that are too complex for the problem at hand.

November 27, 2004


Net application

Every application is moving towards a Net architecture
In an interview with Business standard (published on 17/11/04), Thomas Kurian, 36, senior vice president development, Oracle Application Server told that "Every application is moving towards a Net architecture". He further said, "There is very little that you actually do on your desktop. Most of it is running through the web."
I noted down the 2 important points...
1. Every internet website is essentially an application. If you look at how many websites there are in the world. I think they are essentially all applications built on a server architecture as opposed to writing on our desktop. So we think that this is a fundamental change, it is ongoing and people have really accepted it and shifted to this architecture.
2. The application server business's growth globally was the fastest, from zero to a billion dollars, in terms of the global spend on any software category in the history of software, in a span of four years.


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