Keep an Open Mind

We all know that IT changes rapidly, but we still don’t always accept what that means. Companies and technologies change over time, and good engineers recognise this. Poor engineers cling to past beliefs, refusing to accept change. Try to keep an open mind, and periodically re-evaluate your opinions.

Consider the Linux vs Microsoft debate. I’ve been an Open Source fan for a long time, and have plenty of experience running Linux on servers and desktops. Today I use OS X as my primary desktop. I’ve cursed at Microsoft many times over the years, usually when dealing with some crash, security issue, or odd design choice.

But it annoys the hell out of me when I hear engineers spouting tired old lines about Microsoft products crashing, or having poor security. This is usually accompanied by some smug look “Hur hur hur…Microsoft crash…Blue Screen of Death…hur hur hur”

I get frustrated because these people aren’t paying attention to what Microsoft has been doing. They have come a very long way since the 2002 Bill Gates email setting security as the top priority. It’s a big ship to turn, and it took time. Their overall security model and practices are far better than they were, and stability is no longer an issue. Their business strategy is very different now too.

But poor engineers continue to view Microsoft through the lens of their 1990s experience. They refuse to countenance a Microsoft solution, even when it is the most appropriate one for the problem at hand. They’re doing themselves and their customers a disservice.

I’m not saying that you should use all Microsoft solutions. Far from it. But I am saying that you should keep an open mind, and constantly re-evaluate what you think you know. Dig into some of your opinions, and see if they’re still accurate. This works both ways - e.g. that company that gave great support in 2004 might have gutted their support teams. Or maybe that great software development team has long since moved on.

Keep an open mind. Don’t close yourself off to better solutions.