DPM's Diary 20 March

By CP Bound

DPM's diary by CP Bound


Optimism - a very bad thing. The golden rule of IT management is never hire an optimist. They are either inexperienced or stupid or, most likely, both. In government this rule is observed mostly in the breach. Consider the NHS IT project.

Forget Planck's Constant, the one absolute certainty in this universe is Murphy's Law - if a thing can go wrong, it will. It follows that an optimist in IT is either a fraud or a simpleton.


Tidiness - another undesirable trait. If God had meant you to have a tidy workstation, she would have made you an accountant.

Tidiness is a sign of a mental function restricted by a limited capacity to see beyond your nose and an obsession with putting things in rows and columns.

Tidy people are smug and may suffer from other social disorders, for example, voting Conservative.


Confidence in others - a very bad sign. The only sure way to get software to work as you want it is to is to code it yourself. Ditto running projects, configuring PCs, networks, etc.

We hire external people so we have someone to blame for our failures, not to do things for us.


Technophilia - not good. Do soldiers go home and shoot their own families? Well, OK... sometimes, but generally no. In recent years a number of retarded low-lifes who actually find technology stimulating and fun have been drawn to IT. Perverts all of them!

Is having hypochondria a recognised qualification for practising medicine? The CVs of sound IT people should exhibit evidence of a well-rounded personality.

Membership of a railway preservation society, the English Folk Dance and Song Society or the Campaign for Real Ale are the strongest recommendations. Immediately hire unseen anyone whose CV shows they belong to all three, whatever their level of experience or qualification.


Sobriety - the worst of all sins. Apart from those with sound religious or medical excuses (ask to see a signed note from their parents - alchophobes can be very duplicitous), the failure to take any reasonable opportunity to self-harm a person's liver should be regarded as gross misconduct.

Sobriety has a very unsettling effect upon the rest of the team. Occasionally you may find that a member of your staff decides to abstain for a while.

This is acceptable, providing they use the appropriate explanatory terminology - eg. "Doc says I have to go on the wagon while this clears up," rather than, say, "I have found Jesus."

However, the person concerned should be regularly tested, and a persistent failure to accept invitations to "go on, have a small one" should trigger disciplinary proceedings.


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