We admit that we don’t know what proportion of the population in modern society can play a musical instrument, so we are (pun intended) singing in the dark. However, we are convinced that we can see a pattern: There is an oddly large number of musicians in the information technology industry, and they seem to congregate pronouncedly within some organizations.
Over the course of a year, each of us at the Atlantic Systems Guild comes into contact with dozens of IT organizations. Casual questioning always turns up a surprising number of musical folks within the ranks of the people we deal with—more than the number of musicians we meet in everyday life. This might be rooted in the mathematical and logical foundations of music, and how it appeals to the more technologically minded. It might be the wonderful contrast between the digital nature of the technology and the analog nature of the music itself. Or it might just be a coincidence.
We also find that some organizations are awash in musical talent. The following stories are representative.
My favorite example of this is the Landmark Graphics annual software meeting where all the software project people meet to talk about what they have been doing for the last year. Some of the meeting time is not managed by the conference committee; this is time for music, singing, and dancing, all by the employees. There are bands everywhere in the hotel, and if you aren’t in one, you can roam the corridors to find the music you like. The bands are really good. Some Landmark musicians told me that sometimes it’s a challenge to rehearse because the drummer is in Calgary and the rest of the band is in Houston. Despite the difficulties, they manage to come together and play some mean music on the big night at the annual meeting. —TRL
Borys Stokalski of Infovide-Matrix (that’s him singing at the microphone in this pattern’s photo) told us this story:
Late night in corporate offices of Infovide-Matrix, the lights are still on. One could think of yet another desperate story of meeting an impossible deadline, or completing a slide show for next day’s important customer presentation. But this story is about fun, friendship, and . . . some noise. Wojtek, the IT director of a bank, is fixing his drum kit. Lukasz, a bright software-quality consultant, tries a new riff on his bass, while Pawel, a great project manager, is tuning his beloved Gibson Les Paul Supreme. Aidan, an alliance manager of a major software vendor, has still not arrived, but when he does, his alto sax will add some great tones to the stuff they are going to try out this night. Grego, manager of the IT Governance competence center, and I discuss the details of guitar arrangement—having three guitars on stage requires some planning, to avoid sound clutter. We practice and perform whenever there is an occasion for a small gig—for the sheer fun of music and stage performance. This is the genre of After Hours Rock.
In Silicon Valley, Vittorio Viarengo, vice president of development at Oracle, also leads Jam4Dinner, an all-software-industry combo that performs as both a trio and a quintet. Several of the band’s recordings are available on its Website.
Try asking around your organization and see how many of your coworkers are musicians. We cannot guarantee you will find a complete orchestra, but you will probably be able to put together a string quartet or a rock band. Our iPods await the result.
Win a free pass to the BA Conference Europe, London, September 22-24, 2014, normally costing £1374 to attend. This competition is sponsored by Volere and the Atlantic Systems Guild Limited.
Read Tom DeMarco's article from the July/August edition of IEEE Software: Sigil, BlueGriffon, and the Evolving Software Market.
"This war isn't going to blow anything up, only turn everything off."
Announcing the publication of the third edition of Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister's iconic text, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. The book is available now from Amazon or directly from Addison Wesley. See press release on Business Wire.
Read Tom DeMarco's essay from the July/August issue of Software Magazine. It's entitled, Bells, Whistles, Power, and the Requirements Process.
The preparation course for the IREB "Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering" is now available as video training. Learn at home or any other place. Including questionnaires to prepare you for the multiple choice test.
A Sci-Fi novel from Tom DeMarco: Andronescu’s Paradox. Could this be the Apocalypse we’ve all been dreading? Or has the nineteenth century just returned for an encore? Click to find out.