Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is "perfectionism" a particular personality trait for I.T. people?

Are information technology people unhealthfully obsessed with “perfection”? Is information technology a convenient placement for individuals who don’t want to deal with “people as people” or manipulate them?

I can recall a saying from a manager back in the 1980s, “a lot of people can code, but not many people can implement.” Putting a new system into production means painstaking preparation, careful preparation of exactly the right extracts and files, running parallels for days or months, and getting perfect comparison results. The old 90-100 is an A from school is gone, only 100% is acceptable.

The problem gets complicated by the fact that today, use of production data in system testing is becoming problematical because of security concerns, and the need to protect consumer privacy.

Of course, you can say, other professions require even more perfection. Take medicine, from nursing to surgery.

No wonder, then, why it can be personally challenging for someone who has worked this way for years to deal with “real people” and their needs in “real relationships,” some of which aren’t always chosen.

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