January 31, 2015

Basics for Adopting Linux/Open Source - page 3

Changing Some Old Ideas

  • May 28, 2002
  • By Brian Proffitt

Once you've made a change plan and justified it to the Powers That Be, stick to it. If you decide to work with Red Hat, don't switch over to SuSE just because they released a new version.

On the other hand, be ready to roll with any internally generated changes. If someone on the team suddenly decides they need to have a custom interface to an Oracle database, get ready to include that change into your final goals or be ready explain why it isn't going to happen right away.

Be firm. Politely firm, not dictatorial. Nothing turns off a client faster than an insufferable IT geek who thinks that they know it All just because they know how to run a cron job. But you will need to be firm, because like most humans, your team will be resistant to any change. How resistant will be a matter of degrees, but if they sense you start to waffle after hearing just their most minute gripes and groans, they'll turn on you.

Explain as much as you can. This is a hard one for IT folks, since we tend to get genuinely excited about our work and want to share with others. Unfortunately, it can lead to "geeking out" on some poor unsuspecting co-worker, leaving their eyes glazed and their brains confused. So, share what you're doing, but be succinct. Instead of "the fact that the command line only uses 18.6 kiloquads of processing transistor power makes it infinitely superior to any graphical network-transparent environment," try "we're going to run this application outside of the windowed environment because it will run a whole lot faster."

Try to actively seek out resistors and find out what their problems are. Don't just assume they're being a pain just to spite you. Examine their problems and try to find the reason why they are resistant. Maybe there's a hardware/software conflict on their machine that no one else has. Maybe "this is a stupid application" could translate into "I don't like this program because I don't understand it." Or maybe they just like being a pain. In any case, you have actively addressed their problems and there will be little room for them to say otherwise when the final evaluation of the change is made.

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