Every IT Organization is a Snowflake

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Every IT Organization is a Snowflake

  • There are several different "broad categories" of real snowflakes.  From what I've seen, each shop really is unique even if they fit one of the broad categories.  To wit, I agree with the speaker..."every IT organization is a snowflake."

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Speaking with friends who are ex-colleagues and also reading a fair number of IT/Business books I think there is a lot more commonality than would sit easily with senior egos.

    I can remember reading "Death March" by Edward Yourdon and nodding a lot while reading it.  A lot of things in The Phoenix and Unicorn Project were very familiar.

    I think there are a number of factors that influence an organisation's Snowflakiness

    • Size.  Bigness tends towards bureaucracy
    • Industry
    • External Regulation.  How snowflaky are financial institutions?
    • Maturity of the organisation

    I think the biggest variable is the people, particularly the senior leadership team and the culture that they embody.  What career path did the CEO take?  That plays a big part

  • It seems to me that there is significant difference between the IT groups I've worked in, to say they're quite different. But I could be wrong. At this point I've had a fairly long career, but I've changed jobs only a few times. My experience therefore is limited. You might be right, Steve.


  • Every organisation is made up of different, unique, individuals - each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Each with their own life experiences. I worked in IT for a supplier to the automotive industry. There was a sister company that produced the same type of product for the aircraft industry. We used the same ERP planning application to do the same job - that is really as far as any resemblance went.

    I now work for the NHS and I continually get jobs sent with the "Must have experience of ..." clauses. This is really of little relevance as I usually get my head around the different technical systems in a couple of weeks. Getting used to the way of working and the culture takes a little longer.

  • In several places I've worked, the business users and IT departments have made the decision to customize commercial software, imparting their own special flavors of it instead of accepting the base functionality.  IT people like to solve problems, but I think modifying off-the-shelf software is usually bad practice.  It leads to more complex upgrades and a failure to examine business practice.  We should more often ask: "are we really unique?  Why couldn't we use the software as it is?  It's been proven for other businesses."

    Certainly, if we run the same software as our competitors, we lose competitive advantage.  We should customize only where it makes sense, not in proven functionality like G/L and payroll.

  • Well if you make your categories broad enough then sure everyone will fit into a small number of categories.  And in that case most companies will fit into some broad groups.  But like with most things the devil is in the details and every company has some minor(or often major) differences that can turn into huge differences in practice.  Things like change approval, upgrade practices, acceptance of new tools, testing methodologies, communications policies between teams etc....

  • I suspect the speaker was using the word snowflake in its meaning of unique rather than the more recent meaning of easily offended. I've not worked in an IT department that gets offended (although I have worked in some that are overly defensive). I've had a couple of long-term positions in the Finance industry which is fairly heavily regulated, so you'd expect more similarities there, but both were very different. Where I am currently, we often get told that the restrictive practices we work under have been imposed by the external auditors, but the previous place would have required the same types of audit and the practices were much more relaxed.

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