It’s possible that Will Smith knew from the very beginning that he would rise from rap singer to TV sitcom star to blockbuster movie performer, but I doubt he ever suspected his work would be set to the tune of IT management.
In ‘CIOs Just Don’t Understand,” a company called Cast Software takes the former DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince song ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’ to tell an amusing and probably archetypical story of conflict between chief information officers and their application development teams. The production values aren’t that great — the clip is a bit grainy and looks like it was filmed with a webcam from about five years ago — but the mime-action performances are pretty good:
I’m not familiar with Cast Software, but hat’s off to them for using this, rather than a standard white paper or product brochure, to convey the kind of challenges in creating custom-built enterprise applications. From a lack of proper requirements definition to over-inflated expectations around speed of development, all the age-old points of contention are on display here.
You also have to be impressed by lyrics that manage to rhyme some pretty niche concepts. To wit: “Well I wanted to analyze my structural quality/Looking at this code and I see some anomalies.” Has the importance of software testing ever sounded so good?
It’s probably no accident that the guy playing the CIO is a middle-aged white guy in a suit who doesn’t necessarily treat his developer with the respect and understanding he thinks he deserves. It’s not a bad reminder for real-life IT leaders to make sure they can transcend these kinds of cliches.
In fact, here’s a litmus test for you: Show this to your development team and if this conversation about application portfolio management hits home, you may have a problem that needs to be addressed. On the other hand, you know you’ve established the right kind of rapport with developers if there’s something about this that seems too retro to be believed. In other words, it should feel like something that died off in the 80s.