I just finished reading ‘Necessary But Not Sufficient’ by Eli Goldratt. Its basically a Theory of Constraints (TOC) novel for IT. I am thankful to my good old friend Arun Sahlam for lending me this great book.
It establishes a novel concept which says that technology is necessary but it’s not sufficient. It basically means that if we don’t change our old business rules along with the technology we may never get full benefit out of a new technology. For example in a big manufacturing company estimating requirement is a mammoth task so when this was being done manually, companies adopted approach of doing this calculation exercise only once a month.
After many years when they started using software, they didn’t really see any improvement in output. Reason was not the software, it was because company was still doing this calculation exercise once a month when they had means to do it every week.
This book talks about how new age software companies which will ultimately command majority market share will not only be selling software but convincing and educating their customers to change their age old business processes as well. Only this combination can succeed in long run.
Interestingly book also says that how software developers earlier and some still do take pride in producing a sophisticated looking system because that kind of proves that they can create some technically complicated stuff like that. Truth is however that a complicated product does not always mean a good product and a simple product does not mean that its not useful or is not technically advanced.
A case in the point is Google, which still happens to be one of the most simplest yet technically advanced website. So our responsibility as software developers should be to create simple, straight-forward products which user can learn quickly, yet it has all the power and functionality that’s required from it.
My suggestion to everybody involved with software development is borrow or buy but do read this great book.