Friday, June 09, 2006

Responding to IT Ills

So what do IT professionals do? I could come up with a long list of specific tasks but I’m thinking of something much broader. Do they diagnose or do they fix? Most true professionals do both. Doctors both diagnose illnesses and recommend cures. Lawyers and accountants do something similar. They evaluate the particularities of an event or situation and then recommend some sort of response.

IT professionals are faced with both diagnosis and intervention yet they are only given tools to deal with the latter. Where is the IT manual that diagnosis relevant issues? Where is the IT-ICD or IT-DSM? Of course, IT presents a much more heterogeneous and variable field of practice than those bound by the professions such as law or medicine. The human body isn’t changing (even if our understanding of it is). Similarly, the field of law is anchored in an extensive body of common law upon which all successive practice depends (at least in countries that use common law). ITIL or COBIT may come close but I doubt they will fulfill the same role as a DSM or ICD.

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