Online recruiting good starting point: Yourdon

Want to get into e-commerce? Then you might be better starting your online presence in recruitment before tackling the mainline business of your organisation.

Want to get into e-commerce? Then you might be better starting your online presence in recruitment before tackling the mainline business of your organisation.

That’s if you believe legendary software development expert Ed Yourdon’s admittedly remotely garnered impression of the New Zealand market. He sees lack of skilled staff as the most important negative for e-buisness development here.

“The last time I was in New Zealand was four or five years ago,” Yourdon says, when e-business hardly existed.

But he'll get an update this week, as he attends a software development conference in Wellington as a keynote speaker.

“I will have one-and-a-half days to chat with participants, but my impression is that one of the main problems here is a shortage of sufficiently skilled personnel.”

That’s not unique to New Zealand, he says. “We face it in the US too.

“There are no magic solutions,” he says, but intensifying recruitment efforts is desirable. That means putting recruitment, and even interviewing, online. On previous New Zealand visits, he has found recruitment practices in some IT organisations and departments here to be "like something out of the 19th century.

“There is nothing mysterious about recruiting online,” he says. It works well, may speed the process, and will attract those job seekers who already have an online mindset.

The high proportion of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand is another possible negative factor in e-business development, because smaller companies have fewer resources to focus on strategic questions. “They don’t have research groups or process improvement groups; they usually have barely enough resources just to develop the system.

“I don’t know any answer to that,” he says.

E-commerce developments require a different approach from standard IT projects, Yourdon says. The typically higher speed of development, spurred by competitive forces, will no longer accommodate the rigid methodologies of in-house IT. “We need to have a lighter methodology, with less and simpler documentation.” But that's not a suggestion to descend into the anarchic “FAD – frantic application development,” which bedevilled some early e-business efforts.

Yourdon will be imparting his wisdom at the Software Developers Conference 2001, taking place at Wellington's Duxton Hotel from today until Wednesday.

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