Y2K aftermath should be a boon to users

Throughout the mid-1990s, IT managers have heard experts (as well as some fly-by-night experts) spread fear about a "year 2000 disaster" at year 2000 conferences and through year 2000-focused publications. In response, corporate IT organizations have spent a good percentage of their budgets on fixing their code and then testing it in case the sky starts falling on 12:01 a.m., January 1, 2000.

In recent weeks, many of these same experts have shared their opinions with the general press and broadcast media, further extending fears of a year 2000 Armageddon far beyond the computer industry. A cynic might note that many of these experts continue to sign very lucrative consulting contracts to advise firms on how to undertake Y2K projects. Yet we would all have to agree that there is a year 2000 computer problem, and that huge sums of money have to be spent to fix it.

No one knows exactly what will happen in the early days of 2000, but many IT units have spent millions of dollars fixing and testing code to stay on the safe side. As this work nears completion, many in the IT business are starting to ask another question: Can these massive Y2K projects help improve IT operations going forward?

That's a question we at Application Development Trends have been asking industry leaders for many months. It is also the subject of this month's Cover Story written by Special Projects Editor Deborah Melewski and Managing Editor Jack Vaughan. "Change management in the 21st century" examines how organizations can continue to use change management systems brought in to simplify massive Y2K projects.

We found that a lot of development groups are planning to use change management systems as a standard development practice. This is clearly a positive result of the year 2000 crisis. Organizations now have a better understanding of the need for change, process and project management in large software development projects. Many of these processes will remain in place as work begins on postponed projects.

In addition, numerous (though clearly not all) developers are finally convinced of the need for bringing at least some structure to development. This is an important step for IT that we believe will significantly benefit corporate users.

And for those risk-takers just getting into the year 2000 mess, consultant Charles Trepper explains the need for structured process and project management in "Managing for the millennium."

Best Regards,

--Michael W. Bucken

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.