Mark Ramm is BDFL for TurboGears 2, a python enthusiast, and a generally crazy dude. He's done nearly every job imaginable from software architect to network administrator to lobster-trap thrower and biker-bar cleaner. He is passionate about making tools that help professional and amateur programmers more productive.
RIGHT NOW SOMEONE'S RUNNING a failing project to build a payroll system. Probably more than one someone.
Why? Was it because they chose Ruby over Java, or Python over Smalltalk? Or because they decided to use Postgres rather than Oracle? Or did they choose Windows when they should have chosen Linux? We've all seen technology take the fall for failed projects. But what are the chances that the problem was really so difficult to solve that Java wasn't up the the task?
Most projects are built by people, and those people are the foundation for success and failure. So, it pays to think about what it takes to help make those people successful.
Equally, there's a good chance that there's someone who you think is "just not doing it right" and is undermining the project. In these cases, the technology you need to solve your problem is very old and well established indeed; in fact, it's possibly the most important technical innovation in the history of humanity. What you need is a conversation.
Mere familiarity with ...