I have no idea what the inside of my body looks like and I have only a vague notion of what each of the pieces-parts are doing at any given moment. Like most of us, I do have suspicions about when something might be wrong, but that’s when I typically turn to a pro and his or her tools and knowledge (like MRI’s, stethoscopes, etc.) to help figure out what’s going on in there. It’s the only body I have and I plan to put it to continued good use well into the future.
And if I suspected that something was seriously wrong, I might even get ‘a second opinion.’ Depending on my insurance, I might have to pay out of my own pocket for that opinion, and there’s also a good chance I might hear the same feedback I got from the first physician, but hey, this could be serious and I can’t afford to take chances!
I work with a lot of organizations who rely on software and information technology about as heavily as I rely on my body. In many cases, software runs their business and gives them a competitive advantage. And many of these business users know as much about their software’s inner workings as I do about my body’s. After all, it’s not their field of expertise. They have IT professionals who are working ‘under the covers’ to make their software do what it’s supposed to do.
But I’ve noticed they rarely, if ever, seek a second opinion. Sometimes that takes the form of a “software audit” or a “code review.” Usually, it’s done by an independent third party who, like a medical second opinion, may completely agree with what their IT pros are telling them. On the other hand, if something is not being done according to best practices or industry standards, that’s about the only way they are ever going to find out.
Health Care has second opinions. Construction has building inspectors. Even elevators have to be routinely inspected. Isn’t it about time the software industry grew up and realized that even though you may not always get a ‘clean bill of health’ from your audit, that’s better than waiting til they break out the scalpels…?