We Don’t Have the Money, So We Have to Think

We don’t have the money, so we have to think.
— Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was an illustrious scientist — the 1908 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, and the father of nuclear physics.

Money out the window

His humble upbringing as the fourth in a family of 12 children in rural New Zealand influenced his approach to science, as summarized in the above quote.

A recruiter called me today about a job managing an $80 million IT project.

How in the world can you spend $80 million on an IT project?! I could put your company logo on Mars for $80 million.

Most of the big, expensive IT projects that I’m familiar with, there really was no reason for them to take so long or cost so much. A lot of time and money could have been saved with some upfront thinking.

I get a lot of this now — recruiters asking me if I have experience managing multi-year, multi-million dollar projects, as if there’s some competitive advantage to be had from spending huge sums of money over long periods of time.

A modern variation on Rutherford’s famous saying might be: “We’ve got 80 million dollars! Why should we have to think?!”

Thus spoke The Programmer.

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