Chapter 9. Organizational Competencies

I believe the true road to preeminent success in any line is to make yourself master in that line. I have no faith in the policy of scattering one's resources.

Andrew Carnegie

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there.

Mark Twain

In some ways, the 1970s were the heyday of the programmer. Vendors, particularly hardware vendors, wrote systems software, such as operating systems, file and database management systems, and teleprocessing monitors, but rarely delved into application software. The same was true for third-party software vendors, who focused on systems software and a few application development tools. Applications were written by in-house staff, who cranked out the proprietary payroll, accounts payable, and order entry systems the company needed to run its business.


The heyday was short-lived. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the number of cost overruns, missed deadlines, missing or inaccurate functionality, and project failures had become an epidemic. The problem was twofold. First, information technology (IT) as a service provider, particularly of internally developed computer-based applications, was showing cracks. The need for larger, complex, and integrated applications was too much for what was largely an organization based on individual programmer skills. Late, inadequate, and expensive projects were the result of, at least according to the business, a lack of organizational ...

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