Visual Basic

Know Why You're Taking the Risk

New, inexpensive technology provides greater access to and more uses for information. With Visual Basic 6, there is a major challenge to technical departments to deliver the technology benefits quickly. Effective development means delivering swiftly and economically so that the business can gain competitive advantage or make strategic shifts.

New technology provides businesses with new opportunities to one-up their competitors. This advantage will be short-lived because the competition will rapidly equal or better the development. This competitiveness produces even more pressure to achieve results in record time.

The same new technology provides IT departments with the challenge of learning about and using it. The pace of change, the visibility of new technology, and the need to exploit it quickly mean that system development has become very high risk. You can lower this risk by ensuring that you understand the technology.

In this context, it's vital to understand how to balance risk and benefit. Only the business managers can judge whether the benefits are worth the risks, so project managers must be able to communicate with the business managers about these issues.

Visual Basic 6 provides even more productivity tools, and tools to build productivity tools. You can reduce the risks if you invest in learning and developing wizards, add-ins, templates, and other reusable components.

Understand Where You Came From

A traditional development environment (such as the one depicted in Figure 15-2) in a large, well-established organization has typically grown up over a period of thirty years or more. During this time, procedures and practices have been implemented to control and manage the development, operation, support, and maintenance of the IT function. The environment is mature.

This type of mature technical environment was relatively slow to change, so methods and people were able to adapt easily to the changes. The environment was relatively simple and stable. This slower change and general stability meant that a small number of well-trained staff could investigate change, develop a coherent technical strategy, and adapt the system management practice to take account of this change. The skills required of the majority of development and support staff were relatively low level.