Competency can Make or Break the Success of Your GIS Project

A flyover under maintenance collapsed on Thursday near Cyberjaya. Luckily no one was injured. While investigation is still on going to ascertain the actual cause of the collapsed, some opt to quickly point fingers at others to either divert attention (if they were part of the problem) or gain publicity (if they have nothing to do with the problem or solution). Either way, these are not going to undo the damages caused. With so many parties and potential causes involved, it is rather complicated to pinpoint the truest cause of the incident without in-depth forensic studies.

Hypothetically, if the mishap is caused by human factors, some individuals will be investigated for potential negligence or foul play. Here comes the interesting part:-

  1. If the Architect was using a computer aided drawing software to design the structure, can the Architect shifts the blame to the software company for producing faulty design?
  2. If the Builder was using heavy-duty crane during the construction process, can the builder points the finger at the machine manufacturer for causing this accident?

It is quite obvious the answer is “No” to both the questions above, because the software and machinery manufacturer are not liable for incompetency and negligence of its users. But if you were the Architect, the builder, or someone part of the problem, quite surely you will want to quickly point fingers to the next inline.

Back to our GIS context, I bet you’ve heard instances of project failure or white elephant. In Malaysia GIS scene, these are normally cited as caused by software or hardware failure. Ironically the blames will go to software and hardware vendors instead of parties responsible for implementation and delivery of the project.

Let’s face the reality, everything being equal; I will still come short of pole position if racing side by side with Michael Schumacher. Think again, word processing software on the hand of Joanne Rowling can produce the bestseller Harry Potter fantasy series, but on my hand can only produce this short post. Is there anything wrong with the software or the hardware that I’m using? Hence you can have the same software and hardware that’s on par with the most successful industry leader, but what’s actually missing is the skills and knowledge in handling them.

Note to GIS manager: There are many good and bad GIS implementation examples that might have use the same software and hardware specifications. The changing parameter is the implementation team. Please make sure to give proper attention in selecting experienced project team that can make or break the success of your GIS project.

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