In my 15 years in IT and IT-like functions I have worked at both good and not so good shops and I have seen various levels of the implementation of the factors listed in the referenced article. I have to agree with the points made in the article, this is an excellent breakdown of hallmarks of a good IT department. However, as pointed out by other posters, some of these factors can be tricky to implement without causing uproar.
On the one hand, Steve, just relying on the developer to document 'as needed' can be a recipe for disaster, especially in a smaller organization with less functional overlap. No matter the experience level, expectations for deliverables and documentation must be clear. Simply mandating a SDLC methodology and project overview reporting, however, does not make you a good IT department, and if roughly, rudely, and/or inappropriately enforced it can ruin a good team. An inept application of SDLC methodology in a formerly 'loosey goosey' environment can interfere with work productivity and morale.
The implementation of factors such as these must be accompanied by a concise and well reasoned sales effort on the part of management--even and especially within IT. The worst workplace I've been in was one where changes of this sort were being made but they caused confusion and chaos among the participants--both within IT and from the business side. The loss of resources and institutional knowledge as a result was devastating to departmental productivity, not to mention creating political divisions among formerly well attuned teammates.
I was also fortunate enough to work at a large bank in the 90's where I saw successful implementation of several of the mentioned attributes so I've seen it work, as well. So I know it CAN be done in a manner that is healthy both for the company and the people involved. My conclusion is that it's the marketing of the ideas and wholesale buy-in by those affected that make it work, and that comes from the culture of the company and the personnel comprising the department. (It's the people again!) In this case (and in my opinion) the key factor in success was internal development of standards and methodology that sought (and USED) input from the affected people. That is, leadership as opposed to dictatorship.
In my more recent experience consulting for smaller companies I have had a lot more exposure to the level of management that the article addresses, and I really liked the article for the way it separated the factors into definite attributes. I surely will refer back to it when next I am looking to form a long term relationship with a company.
😎 Kate The Great :w00t:
If you don't have time to do it right the first time, where will you find time to do it again?