McLeod’s Commandments have proven to be timeless.
I found this advice about computers years ago (90s?). Most of us learned these lessons by now - some of us used the ’hard way’. The marketplace has helped out too. It's hard to spend a million dollars on computers any more. Governments, of course, are immune to that restriction. Pass this on to any government officials you know.
Although these commandments were intended for architects, the lessons apply to everyone and are pretty timeless.
MacLeod's Ten Commandments of Computerization
I. THOU SHALT NOT BELIEVE IN ANYONE OR ANYTHING.
Every performance figure that you're quoted should be divided by a factor of four.
Don't believe demonstrations; they're often canned or optimized.
Be skeptical. Don't even believe me.
II. THOU SHALT NOT BUY ANYTHING THAT COSTS MORE THAN $10,000.
People used to tell me that you could amortize a $1,000,000 system in three years.
These people are now broke.
III. ALWAYS TRAIN DESIGNERS, NOT OPERATORS.
Only architects can really communicate with other architects.
You need your best people to be computer literate.
IV. NOTHING LASTS FOREVER OR FOUR YEARS, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
Plan for the obsolescence of your equipment.
V. THOU SHALT NOT HAVE ANY PRODUCTIVITY GAINS.
One of the reasons I'm so adamant about Commandment II is that I know you won't make enough profit through increased productivity to pay off your machines.
You have to be prepared to minimize the damage that computers will do to your bottom line.
VI. KNOW YOUR PEOPLE, NOT YOUR COMPUTERS.
Let them create and carry out the plan for computerization.
VII. REMEMBER THAT TRAINING AND SUPPORT COST MORE THAN HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE.
VIII. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
Once you've made up your mind, don't spin your wheels because you hear there's going to be something better next year.
There's always going to be something better next year.
IX. THOU SHALT HAVE MORE THAN ONE GOD.
Buy a computer you can use for a lot of different things, not just CADD.
X. EVERYTHING WILL COST TEN TIMES MORE THAN YOU EXPECT AND TAKE TEN TIMES LONGER.
by Douglas MacLeod
Although the concept of computerizing your firm is an indication of just how old this list is, Commandment II has weathered the intervening years quite well.
The real challenge remains the same - making the technology serve you.