Archive for the ‘Co-Workers’ Category

The Hero Culture in IT (Not always a good thing)

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The hero culture runs deep in most IT departments. In many places where I have worked, the staff who get the most kudos are the ones who need to pull the all-nighter to make things work, or have to be involved in everything for it to be successful.

While there is always room for people who go above and beyond the minimum to get things done, ultimately the hero mentality is a big reason why so many IT departments are stuck in a reactive mode, constantly fighting fires then slapping each other on the back for a job well done.

The real hero is the employee who through proper planning doesn’t need to do the all-nighter. Another hero is the employee who documents his/her work and makes it available to everyone (e.g. via a wiki) so they don’t need to be available for anything in their area to function.  

Instead of rewarding the hero, IT management need to examine why it was required in the first place. Were processes followed?  (sloppy change management is a big culprit here). Is adequate documentation available on the key IT systems? Was the right level of planning done? Were estimates correct? Was the outcome as expected.

The real hero can answer yes to all of these questions. The so called hero answers no, but gets rewarded because it worked out in the end. Who are your real heroes?