I get this question every once in while… “do you write code?” or “do you know… abc technology”?
Here is the short answer:
Yes. I’ve been writing code since I was 10, when my parents bought me my first computer and I stayed up late at night trying to write my own word based adventure games… often referred to as “zorg” games. You may or may not know about them. I wrote my first professional business application when I was 15, for a hospital in France. I was an exchange student at the time and earned an entire week’s worth of skiing in Switzerland for that app. It was a database that kept track of patients and the drugs they were trying for clinical trials.
However… the real question that people should ask of me and their consultants is:
“Can you determine what is the thing we need created to automate our business… and can you determine if we should build or buy it… and can you design it, then build it or implement it?”
“Do you understand our business and are you interested in providing service and making us buy technology to enhance our bottom line and make our business more efficient as opposed to a lot of other consultants who are only interested in making a quick buck and not really being thorough with what we need and not really developing and meeting a well thought out list of requirements?”
Now THAT is the question you should ask me.
Go ahead… I dare you.
I love that you mentioned “build vs. buy”! From a consultant’s perspective I love to build things….not always a full blown app but usually a solution perhaps involving multiple pieces inside and behind existing apps.
But as an IT Manager often tasked with evaluating applications and build vs. buy scenarios I can say its usually better to buy….if commercially available products exist that meet or at least come close to meeting your needs. Often customizing a commercial product is far more cost effective than building your own. There are scenarios that “build your own” make sense however there are a lot of questions you need to answer before proceeding.
Engineers love to believe they can build anything….it’s in their DNA….however the bigger question is not if you can, but why you should!
Kevin, your comment makes me look good! Thank you.
The build or buy question is what got me into Deltek Vision in the first place. In 2004 I was providing a firm with a solution for their enterprise computing needs… despite my being a developer and wanting to build them an entire application to run their company, I knew it would be too expensive and long of a process so I went out looking for a solution to put in place and customize. That’s what started my journey… implementing Vision 3.1 over a period of 1.5 years one department at a time. Of course we did lots of other things during that period but that was the main task, to get them out of their menagerie of home grown apps written in MS Access over to one all encompassing platform.
Amen to that. For me it’s ‘do you know Photoshop?’ Puhleeeeeze!