in reply to IT Management, outsourcing & technical skills

Good post, g0n, albeit a self confessed rant.

I'll see if I can pull together some of the ideas and points, and give my take.

Choice of technology platform

I'm using the word "platform" in a very general sense: like your database back ends, or this could apply to the choice of programming language used. This is clearly an area which requires technical expertise to understand the issues involved. However, I've often seen statements about technology platforms built into business requirements. Usually, this is wrong; such statements belong in the solution, not the requirements. The requirements should be pitched in business language, and free from the specific technical considerations of the solution.

An exception to this might be where there are vested interests. For example, if Oracle are sponsoring the project, it's not unreasonable to have "Oracle database" in the requirements.


Like you say, this can be good or bad. Personally, this may potentially give you the opportunity to move around and grow in the service organisation, without being tied to the one client, as you would be as a direct employee.

The problem with outsourcing usually occurs at the boundary between the two organisations, usually because some detail has been omitted from the contract. This can also, as you said, be a failure of requirements analysis in the client.

Technical managers

You are more likely to find somebody doing both technical work and being a manager, in small firms. In large corporations, it seems that there is no opportunity for technical roles above a certain point in the management hierarchy.

Put yourself in the shoes of somebody who has been promoted into a non-technical role (this happened to me once). You end up either knuckling down to the management job your employer is asking you to do, and losing your technical knowledge if you stay there. Or you fail and leave.

I made my choice, and I no longer want to climb the management hierarchy ladder. Though this could change if I end up running my own business.


Large organisations move at the pace of prehistoric gastropods. Don't expect much innovation from your colleagues.

Management ain't what it's cracked up to be.

You stand a better career chance working with the large organisation as a client, you being a freelance contractor, employee of an outsource supplier, or an outside consultant.


Oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
My friends all rate Windows, I must disagree.
Your powers of persuasion will set them all free,
So oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
(Missquoting Janis Joplin)

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