Why Business Dictates Technology Selections

In my previous article called When Business Dictates Technology Selections, I wrote about arguments, which are used by management to overrule the technology selections made by technical staff. I also tried to describe, why I feel that managers should have control over technology selections. I have to admit that I was not doing a very good job. As I was reminded later, my explanation about this matter, was shallow. This article is written to fix that deficiency.

I wrote before that the scope of their decisions is the largest difference between management and technical employees. I still feel that this statement is true, but it definitely needs to be described more closely. I am going to do just that by giving you my arguments, why business can dictate technology selections:

  • Business decisions must follow a long term plan. Technology selections are made either to solve a specific problem or to build a technology portfolio. Also, the software development industry is developing very fast, and the de facto technology of today might very well be tomorrow's legacy code. Thus, technology selections are made mostly to fulfill current needs. On the other hand, business decisions must be following the long term strategy of the company. This gives them an edge over an individual technology selection, which scope is much smaller.
  • Management has broader knowledge than technical staff. Generally speaking, managers have got access to more detailed information about the company, its strategy and goals. It is their job to ensure that this information is used properly, when decisions are made. In some cases, the given information might make it unnecessary to make any changes to the used technologies. Naturally, it would be best, if all relevant information would be available, when technology selections are made. This, however, is a distant dream, because there are several reasons, why information cannot always be published to everyone inside the company. That is why management have to act as a gate keepers for all decisions made inside an organization.
  • The ass on the line factor. It might not be fair, and the technical staff might not like it, but the ass on the line factor assures that managers can interfere with the work of technical staff. This right is earned by the fact that when things go wrong, managers have got their asses on the line. It is only fair that if a person can get be punished, when things go wrong, this person has made the final decision himself. I would not take a job without this privilege, and I am pretty damn sure that every one will act in the same way than me.

I have now introduced you my arguments, why I feel that business must have got a final saying about technology selections, which are made inside an organization. While it might be tempting for both managers and technical staff to continue life in their own trenches, aiming their weapons against a common enemy will lead in to the best result. Even though it might be sometimes hard to believe, managers are aiming to the same goal than the technical staff.

They are only using different tools.

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