Editorial - clash of the titans

Scene one: Corporate management finally passes IT budget, permitting consultants and outsourcers to assist in-house IT development projects.

Scene two: IT manager and head consultant meet. Contract briefs are exchanged. Everyone appears satisfied.

Scene three: Project hiccup. IT manager and head consultant disagree on methodology to use in tackling implementation snafus.

Scene four:Conflict.

While this might not be a typical behind the scenes look at the relationship between IT managers, consultants or outsourcers, it is a potential danger zone. Having a group of professionals working side by side in any occupation can lead to a string of bruised egos, especially when things go wrong.

And the likelihood of such scenes occurring is set to increase, as analysts predict an employment boom for consultants and outsourcers. Demanding IT projects - namely the Y2K issue - will continue to escalate, leaving little choice for in-house project leaders to call on hired help.

But if territorial boundaries are not defined before committing to a part-sourcing environment, then "no-man's land" can seem like a blur. Worse, frustration can creep in making way for highly-strung parties swearing that their way is best.

One of this month's feature stories, "Drawing the Line" on page 20, discusses some of the sore points between IT professionals, consultants and outsourcers and reveals the pitfalls of not clarifying who should call the shots - especially in the embryonic stages of a contract.

As one IT manager put it: "It's a case of he who pays the piper calls the tune."

In other words, the buck stops at the IT manager. He's boss. Because, if things don't go to plan - it's his head the big boys in management will have for lunch.

Three cheers for team spirit!

P.S. It's great to see we have already received feedback from some of our readers. Take a look at the letters to the editor's page. They reinforce my belief that IT professionals are not to be messed with - especially the closet Mac fans!

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