The Guerrilla survey says

Thanks for your responses to the first annual Guerrilla IT survey from a few issues back. As the survey responses were pouring in (insofar as about 50 replies could be considered pouring in) two things occurred to your humble correspondent:

A. This survey was a really good idea and,

B. Almost everyone who responded is more insightful and a better writer than I am.

In the interests of shared knowledge (and a few hundred fewer words that I have to write myself) I’d like to share what you said on a few of the burning issues the survey focused on:

Survey question 6: Top IT management from outside the ranks of those with IT backgrounds:

A. Great idea or

B. Work of the devil

Answers were lopsided on this one. By a two to one margin, respondents thought their management should be IT, just like they are:

– “In a former job I suffered through some horrendous IT decisions made by non-IT management”. ’nuff said.

– “I submit as evidence every episode of Dilbert.”

– “Just who do you think trains these guys?”

On the other hand, there is some support of, and even grudging respect for, senior IT management who come from outside techiedom. Of course the technical cynics would suggest that these folks are ringers who wouldn’t know Java if it spilled in their lap:

– “As long as they are somewhat computer literate and open-minded to IT workings.”

– “As long as it’s not a flaky marketing guy, God save us all from them.” Truer words were never spoken (er, written).

– “It is impossible to train programmers to manage. Well, nearly impossible.” Of course, this is the same respondent who, when answering the survey question about “How casual is too casual for the business environment?” said “Who cares how they dress as long as the network keeps running? We keep them locked up in the back anyway.”

Some folks took the diplomatic middle ground. I put a tick in both columns in these cases (made it look like I had a bigger sample than I really had, don’t you know):

– “A and B. I’d say half and half. It’s wholly dependent on the strengths of the manager.” It occurs to me that these careful kind of people are the ones who will ultimately end up running IT (and everything else).

Back to the question of casual dress in the IT workplace (survey question #1): I asked if the golf shirts with logos and khakis were just fine, or too casual. Casual it is, and with a vengeance. Casual won out over formal by a five to one margin:

– “Casual is just fine…cheaper than suits.”

– “There’s no such thing as too casual, as far as I’m concerned.”

And then there was my personal favourite from a gentleman named Chris Foley: “Someone who wears a golf shirt is considered a mighty natty dresser in these parts. ‘Hey, is that a collar? Someone die?'”

By the way, Chris also took exception to my question about the better martini:

A. gin (very dry) or

B. vodka (also very dry).

Chris called me a “Heathen…b. is a Vodkatini, James Bond’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.”

Back to the clothes: Those few who took an opposite view were equally clear on their thinking, for example:

– “The term ‘business casual’ quickly deteriorated into looking worse for the wear. Jeans and a T-shirt do not cut it in a place of business.”

And again we had the diplomats:

– “The important thing is to be comfortable with your co-workers/clients, and vice versa. If they’re all shirt and tie, maybe you should be too.”

As to the question of IT outsourcing (question 5) I asked if in the future you predicted

A. more or

B. less?

This one split right down the middle, so I can’t claim to have detected any great seismic trend in industry. There was an interesting point made, though: “We’re doing more and more outsourcing and hiring more and more IT people. Pretty soon there will be no one left to do the real work.” And I could’ve sworn that some of us were doing real work.

One last survey item this issue: I asked in question 3 simply:

A. Betty or

B. Veronica?

Archie Andrews, your decision has been made: by a margin of three to one, Betty is the girl for you:

– “Betty is real, V is a poser.”

– “Gentlemen prefer blondes.”

– “Betty – don’t know why Archie didn’t realize this as well.”

Veronica support was there in small amounts, but terse and cryptic:

– “Definitely b.”

It seems that readers of this small column are full of excellent answers. I’m hoping you’re also full of excellent questions. Anything you think we should be surveying on? Let me know.

Hanley is an IS professional in Calgary. He can be reached at