Understanding the ignorance behind avoiding new software development technologies

New technologies are avoided by companies for many reasons, the primary reason maybe to avoid the risk of the unknown. If your success of your company/business/project depends on the success of your software development project, then of course you want to minimize risks associated with the latest and greatest new technologies especially if they’re so new that there’s no success stories from others already using them. Sometimes this risk is worth taking if the potential reward is so great that it negates the downsides of the risk. For example if the competitive advantage that could potentially be gained outweighs the significance of the risk, then maybe the risk is worth taking.

When new techologies are avoided due to lack of understanding, lack of information, incorrect assumptions, and beliefs based on false information, then you’ve got a more serious problem on your hands. The problem with any decision based on false information worsens when the decision makers believe the information they are basing their decisions on to be correct. The higher up the management chain these decisions are made the worse this situation becomes for two reasons:

  1. no-one questions the decisions made because of the decision maker’s level of authority
  2. the decision maker loses credibility with their team because they are seen to be making wrong/poor decisions based on bad information

‘Community’ or ‘tribal’ knowledge is a dangerous thing when decisions are made and opinions formed based on bad information. Opinions and beliefs quickly spread within a group/team/project of any size, and once those opinions and beliefs take hold as ‘fact’ then the rot has already set in from within – it can be hard to undo this damage and replace this bad information with true and correct facts.

The trouble with believing facts to be true is that if you are wrong, you probably don’t realize you are wrong. The more time that goes by operating with false information, the worse the situation can become, as you poison the knowledge of those around you too. The poor/incorrect information spreads, and beliefs become truths.

In an industry where having correct and up to date information is key to what we do everyday and to be successful, we owe it to ourselves to help anyone who is operating with false information. The longer this situation continues, the worse it becomes, so the best thing to do is to stop the situation in it’s tracks as soon as you see this starting. When success depends on having true and correct information, its important to stamp out sources of bad information as soon as you can.


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