Why Are IT Guys So Difficult to Work With??

Articles > Why Are IT Guys So Difficult to Work With??

NOTE: As a general disclaimer, I am a recovering software engineer and I’ve been that IT guy at times so I feel qualified to point fingers and assign blame.

The blame in this matter falls solely and squarely on the IF statement. You don’t have to be a programmer to understand the IF statement. If you have used a spreadsheet, you’ve probably dealt with writing an IF statement in a formula.

So why is it the IF statement’s fault? IF statements force black and white logic on situations that are gray. What does that mean exactly? It means that real world requirements must get translated into conditional logic to get implemented in software.

So WHO should be the translator?

The business unit manager understands the requirements. The IT guy understands how the software works. Ideally, the manager and the IT guy would work together to translate the requirements. Let’s look at a typical exchange between a business unit manager and an IT guy using the proverbial “forest and trees” reference.

Manager: I need you to build me a forest.

IT Guy: How many trees do you need in the forest?

Manager: I don’t know, how many are there usually?

IT Guy: That depends, is this a temperate forest or a sub-tropical forest?

Manager: What?? I have no idea what you are talking about. I just need a plain old forest.

IT Guy: Do you need a river or lake in the forest?

Manager: Um, sure, I’ll take a river.

IT Guy: What sort of animals do you need?

Manager: Animals? I didn’t ask for a zoo, I just need a forest.

IT Guy: Well, animals are an integral part of the forest ecosystem so I think you need them.

Manager: Fine, whatever, include some animals but not too many.

IT Guy: Ok. Do we need to worry about forest fires, pine beetles, or other things that might damage the forest?

Manager: (Sigh) I seriously doubt it but just use your best judgement.

Quit laughing. You know you have been involved in this EXACT conversation. Maybe not about a forest but about a CRM system or an expense tracking system. So tell me now who’s fault is it that IT guys are so hard to work with?

If you look at the average IT job posting, it will have all the requisite technical jargon. Agile this. JSON that. SQL something else. Here are the UNWRITTEN requirements for the job:

  • Mind reader
  • Photographic memory
  • Magician
  • Futurist
  • Robot

Now this is not to say that some IT guys don’t make things harder than they need to be. Some can be a serious pain in the ass. Others are simply in over their heads technically and are struggling to keep up. And every one of them has a personal life that is forever impacted by their career decision to be an IT guy. “Available 24 x 7 x 365” is great for marketing purposes but it also takes a huge toll on the actual people doing the job.

So the next time you find yourself ready to strangle your IT guy, take a deep breath and count to 10 using the following logic:

IF Counter = 9 THEN
SET Counter = 1

Your alternative is to build the forest yourself and we all know you will never make it past the third tree. Or you can call CTO Nation and hire a translator (aka Chief Technology Officer).

bald latin business man over worked holding a help sign