How many of us remember the mosh pits? The first time I was, pushed into the middle of a mosh pit by a boyfriend, I remember how terrified I was. He thought it was funny to push me into something I was observing when I was not willing to engage in the mosh pit activity. It seemed self-destructive but it fascinated me that the crowd would open up in a circular fashion around this activity. I watched as people voluntarily jumped in until I was pushed into the action unwillingly.
I’m a tiny person without the brawn. In a crowd, most people tower over me and most of my sight is filled with chests or backs. In a crowd, there isn’t much for me to see so the experience is undesirable which prevents me from attending certain events.
Someone was asking me why IT groups seem to forget who their customer is. Why do we, in IT, fail at developing, implementing, and educating our overall customer base? It was pointed out that several of my posts share that there is around a 75-95 percent shortage of people who have the computer literacy that businesses need. “If you people know this, then why aren’t you trying harder to help us? The problem with you IT folks is…”
Great question. Yet, it wasn’t really a question because they wanted to tell me their opinion with the complaint that they had. Some executives have been reported to claim that Project Managers do not understand how projects align with the business missions. Some Project Managers believe that business executives fail to focus on the human-centric facets that make projects messy and chaotic.
To try to contribute to the question of why things seem to be the way they are without joining the finger pointing and blame game, I decided to see if an understanding could be reached to see that this is a social problem that is multi-faceted and blaming isn’t helping. Can you imagine something with me for a moment?
Imagine that you’re looking through a monocular watching for a bird that you heard is rare in these parts but been observed by a few. Imagine that you want to witness this rarity because you have been told that it is the most amazing thing to see. Are you going to hold that scope in one spot or are you going to move the scope around to see the rest of the scenery? Imagine moving the scope to shift your point of view and what you see is something like this. Is there something noticeable with this image? Where are all of the pillows?
Out of curiosity, I wondered where the center of a target would fall if I moved the center of the circle. This was pointed out during college with the message to “Get Your Five On.” Meaning, jump into the center of the college activity and get engaged because that is what successful students do.
Except, imagine that you’re no longer observing from a distance with a monocular. Imagine traveling to the center of the red circle of the image above. Imagine that this is the number of people in the country, the 5-26 percent who are computer super-users.
In the middle are the decision makers, developers, among several other IT groups. Do you know what you would see? Imagine, as you zoom into the middle of that targeted area to be a part of those select few. The feathers and pillows are the business result of tasks and role responsibilities. There’s a flurry of busyness as everyone postures their stance to do what is being asked of them.
Being in the middle of that, the above picture represents what may be seen. Shift the focus from the center to observe the people who are not in the middle of the chaos and activity. This is, in essence, what happens in several societies and communities.
Some people will always have a problem with every solution. It’s who they are for whatever reason. Usually, those people can be found on the outskirts of the activity, happy to criticize while pointing out the things that could and will go wrong.
“It’s all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out.” Bah humbug! What’s my point?
My point is, since my experience of being pushed into the mosh pit, I’ve discovered myself being in the center of activity unwillingly. Sometimes, yes, we can get hurt or something bad happens. Yet, the times that I decided to play things safe and stand on the sidelines to watch others who were a part of the action and activity, it felt like I was missing out on the fun part of being engaged. Was it safe? Sure. At the same time, while I wasn’t losing anything, I wasn’t gaining anything either. Not when it comes to business.
Jumping into the midst of the action meant that I would be tagged as “one of them.” I’ve learned that I may and will get bumps and bruises from jumping into the middle of the mosh and that will be okay. At least, in the middle of the chaos, someone can share the lessons that have been learned from the pain of being in another circle of people who need to be heard with what they really need.
The communication disconnect is multi-faceted with many layers of the circle. What can we do differently to reboot computing so people can be empowered to rise with what businesses need? What is involved with rebooting computing? Who are our customers?
Maybe we should shift our field of vision to pay attention to the larger picture beyond the groups we spend the most time with. Why? If we don’t, who will buy our products and services? Who will invest in the initiatives if only the select few understand the specialized words we use? Maybe change towards making our work-life great can begin with the awareness of our biases and moving the line of sight towards other groups that we rely on for business success. If we don’t, someone else will.