Freakonomics and Geekonomics

August 22, 2007


I’ve just finished reading Freakonomics.  It’s a great read, and don’t be scared off if economics ain’t your cup of tea.

I won’t spoil it for you, but it answers questions such as:

  • what have schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers got in common?
  • how is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
  • why do drug dealers still live with their mums?

It’s really good fun, and  if anything, makes you take a slightly different approach to “conventional truth”.

Now, my fellow techies,  we all know that IT does not have the best of reputations.  According to these surveys the project failure rate is about 50%, if not more.  That’s pretty abysmal.

The conventional truth is that projects fail because of:

  • poor planning
  • poor project management
  • poorly defined requirements
  • lack of user buy-in and involvement
  • over ambitious technology
  • and there’s probably a few more (feel free to add)

After reading Freakonomics, I thought challenge the conventional truth about what influences IT project success – let’s call it Geekonomics!!

I’d love to see some stats/evidence to prove/disprove the following hypotheses (some of which I think maybe true, some not!):

  • Developers using Mac have a higher project success rate than developers using PCs!
  • Bloggers are involved in more successful projects than non-bloggers
  • More caffeine intake equals more project success
  • Less time in meetings means a bigger chance of a successful project
  • Less management of (bloody) Gantt charts results in more successful projects
  • Locking down internet access at work decreases the chance of project success
  • Giving your employees “free” broadband increases the change of project success
  • “True geeks” deliver better projects

and finally,

  • the success of a project is inversely proportional to the size of the papertrail it leaves behind

These are just a few to get you thinking.  It’s a bit of fun – but you never know!  Go on, feel free to add some more.  And if you know of any stats around them, then please do let me know.

One Response to “Freakonomics and Geekonomics”

  1. Mike Dawes Says:

    Project Managers are to IT as Traffic Wardens are to the Police. They are ones not good enough to get the good jobs, so they create ‘Project Managers’ to justify their own existance!

    I hope you are aware that over 95% of statistics are made up?

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