Your leaders should code

Your leaders should code

The I in ICT does not stand for “computers“. Hell, even the C doesn’t.

Yet when we talk about the IT department of a company, we envision a basement full of laptops and nerds.

On the other side of the fence are the “Business People”. They are a shaky alliance of middle-managers, specialists and administrative staff, barely held together by a firm disliking of all things technical.

These two departments have been at war for power and resources since the dawn of time.

We see this in the way we organize teams. Scrum teams in the IT department that liaison only with a Product Owner from The Other Side. Business Committees where the “real decisions” are made. We seem to have limited diplomacy, but no real collaboration.

Upper management seems to favour the Business. They seem to set the strategy. They come up with projects and define scope. It’s up to the IT department to make this work. There is a strict separation between the thinkers in business and the doers in ICT.

If your company sells physical products, you might get away with this. After all, the IT department plays only a supporting role.

If your product is streams of information and transactions, then your business is IT. Banks, government agencies, E-commerce, … They don’t have the luxury of keeping the nerds out of the loop.

Companies whose resource is information, should be lead by tech-savvy leaders. Having a financial background is no longer enough to run a bank. A firm grasp of the internet and web-tech is a must-have in 2018. Most of the new giants are run by CEO’s who at least know how to code.

So, take a good look at your next Steering Committee or Board Meeting. How many vocal techies are in the room? How much do they weigh on the decision making process? Are those that design and build your core business, part of the upper management?

Why not?