In a somewhat different vein, the Wall Street Journal has a fabulous article on the story of Jim Allchin and remarkable changes taking place in Microsoft since July 2004. In a move that Sir Humphrey Appleby would have described as “brave”, Allchin made the extrordinary decision to be brutally honest in a meeting with Bill Gates, and tell his boss that the strategy being pursued in the development of the latest Windows operating system was too complex, was running over time and over budget, and in the end, simply wouldn’t work.
It can only be descibed as the best move Allchin could ever make. Not for him personally, but for Microsoft.
The changes taking place in terms of software development and capital investment on product development are a cultural shift away from the traditional processes adopted by Microsoft, and the impact this is having on the firm are only now beginning to be realised. This article is a useful read for anyone who believes that the cheapest and easiest route is the key to success. User centred design and centralised information sharing works better than hanging bits of code together. And for the information technology sector generally, it’s good research and planning that’s now becoming a competitive advantage.