From TTW: Ten Ways to Lose Your Technies
Michael made a great adaptation post on Ten ways to lose your techies. (Note to employer: No worries, you guys do great!) He hit some great points that I want to restate in bold print.
4. Allow barriers to exist that make it difficult for IT staff and librarians to plan and collaborate
5. Bog down their projects in red tape and approvals that take weeks or months to get
Bonus: Never Dream. Never innovate. Never think outside the Box.
Many who have come to know me or work with me know that #4 and 5 are huge problems with me. Because of the nature of my work and how my position has evolved, I believe firmly in breaking down all barriers. I am trusted to do a job and there should be minimal things that prevent me from doing so. This goes for all staff!
There is an inherent disconnect that occurs when developers are not allowed to interface directly with end-users or that interfacing is done through a middle-man that causes things to be "lost in translation". Believe me, every system I've seen that was designed without direct end-user to developer communication and collaboration was more work for and accomlished less for the end users. IT and management should never forget that every system is designed to accomplish something for the end users.
When it comes to IT planning you need a true dialog between management, end-users, and IT staff. All staff should dream and say things like "It would be nice if" and the biggest thing is that...IT should not rule out anything just because. I regularly sit down in tech meetings and open the floor for people to say their wildest tech dreams. Then we look at what is available today that could possibly accomplish that. Somethings are just not feasible or affordable, but you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish just by entertaining ideas. You'll also be surprised at what other ideas are generated from that synergy.
There is a lot to be said for collaboration and putting up barriers definately does not invite that dialog or collaboration. And in that end, your internal constituents lose and so do your external.