:julianbrowne

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the obligatory about page

Hello and welcome to the site.

My name is Julian Browne and I work in the software industry. Or rather, I work for businesses that commonly say things like “we’re not a software company” (to justify why they spend millions with large consultancies or large software packages) when it’s abundantly clear that their commercial livelihood depends on the success of the software that they run.

I used to work mostly in software architecture. Whenever I introduced myself as an architect I would immediately feel the need to apologise because it’s a role performed so badly in many organisations that I just assumed everyone would hear the word and think oh here we go, another corporate powerpoint monkey. Nowadays I try and help companies be better at tech, whatever that might entail.

My background is in operations - I was a Unix performance consultant early in my career, then went into development, and then to architecture. I tried pure line management but discovered it’s not really my thing. At least not at any scale. Although the basics of good software stay the same, packages and languages move on apace, and taking a resource pool management job is the best way to slip completely out of the zone of competence.

I left my last proper management job in 2007, taking some time off to get re-acquainted with hands-on delivery. It also felt like a good time to explore some ideas and say some things I felt needed to be said about why IT had seemingly self-destructed over the previous ten years, hence this blog. Things are much better now and so my posts are a lot more sporadic. I’m also a lot busier so finding time is a bit of a challenge.

I love software and what it can do. And after many years of working with it I still get that they-pay-me-for-this? tingle. And we should all take our tingles where we can.

But it’s hard not to feel worn down by the armies of the incompetent who don’t get it: the consultancies and vendors that have exploited the fears of corporate leaders to persuade them that they can no longer manage their own IT. Still too many board directors see tech as something other and separate to their economic business, rather than woven within it.

And none of this need be the case. Modern businesses are software. A handful of people can work wonders with very little budget. The world is full of great cheap and free software. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that with an average team and a good attitude most of the inertia we experience everyday disappears.

Consultancies are not a necessary evil, they are an unnecessary evil.

This is a beautiful field to work in. Few understand just how beautiful. Fewer still see the beauty that could be.

If you’ve really got nothing better to do you can join me on Twitter or contact me using the link above.

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