IT managers and top talent

James McGovern published a blog on How IT managers prevent hiring top talent He names fear of losing power as one of the main reasons and suggests having less consultants and more people from the military.

I do not agree with these statements. Here ‘s my quick random thoughts on the subject (my haircut appointment is in 15 min):

1. Managers do not hire top talents because they can ‘t afford to hire them.

2. Managers are not afraid that they ‘ll lose the power, because top talent is not seeking the power but rather is looking for an interesting environment and appreciation of his/her work.

3. If managers already work with a top talent (can be either an employee or a consultant), they often resists to innovative ideas that come from these smart people. Why? Because the main goal of almost every manager is to move up the career ladder and not make a revolution in the software development. The innovative ideas of smart technical people put their career at risk. Yeah, the existing technology may not be a bleeding edge, but everyone know its features, and slowly but surely we ‘ll get the project finished close to the set deadlines. This new technology sounds very interesting, but why taking a risk and being among the early adopters? Thanks, but no thanks.

4. For some reason, James does not like contractors that much. He does not want to admit that typically contractors are more innovative than employees. They need to keep their skills up to date and learn on the go, while some employees get too comfy in their cubicles over the years. I vote for inviting more contractors on the short-time basis. I often work as a contractor myself. Currently I work on three projects at the same time: two days a week on one, two on the other and Fridays on the third one. The managers who hired people from our company for short mentoring gigs made the right decision. My role is to mentor other people and make sure that the project goes in the right direction. Keeping me onsite for five days a week would be more expensive and unnecessary. I also prefer short assignments to long running projects.

5. Hiring people from military may or may not work. Pros: military people are often goal oriented, and if they decide to become good software developers/architect, they ‘ll do it. Be what you can be. Recently I met a former marine in one the IT floors. The is a very respectful person, who does not have formal education in software but is one of the leading developers on a complex project. Cons: military people may not have any talent in computers, and hiring them just because they are from military is wrong, in my opinion. Hire good software developers regardless of their past.

In April, I ‘ll publish a small e-book “Enterprise Software Development without BS “, where I ‘ll explain my views of IT, if you care.


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