Arch Villains – FUD Man & Frameworkinstein

I was reading this article over at 37signals and I realized that my enemy is inefficiency and it takes form in two arch villains:
  • FUD Man – This is the person on the team or the architect that creates enough Fear Uncertainty and Doubt to ensure a solution/application is over-engineered and over-budgeted. This usually takes the form of a J2EE solution requiring offshore to get it done on time and on budget.
  • Frameworkinstein – This person is usually FUD Man disguised as a hero coming in to propose a framework to take away time but in actuality it adds time and complexity to an already over-engineered solution.

How do you defeat these two in corporate IT? Ruby? Dynamic Languages? No. Those are usually the wrong weapons and you can’t fight FUD with something people know little about. To win this war you need to take lessons from Sun Tsu. Here’s some tactics:

  1. Attack The Foundations of FUD by finding the most important emotional driver for the decision maker. If it’s cost make it cheaper, if it’s quality, introduce a quality process, if it’s power, caste doubt on his/her ability to control the project.
  2. Ask questions like: How would we do this if we had half the time and budget to management without FUD Man around to respond.
  3. Find a better framework than proposed only to show that one is not really needed.
  4. Show examples of how someone smarter than you or your villain would do something different and how they succeeded.
  5. Create a prototype/example in a few hours that does a good majority of the work, and ask management: If this only took me a few hours, how can we spend all this time and effort on something that’s essentially the same thing?

Good Luck in your fight, may the force be with you!!!