BCS creates Truth Commission to heal wounds
Moves to win back 'sizeable minority' of members
The BCS is setting up a committee to deal with members' concerns about the current management's modernisation and rebranding project, even though it won the vote on the issue.
The rebels forced an Extraordinary General Meeting in July but lost the subsequent vote to call a halt to the reform programme.
The rebels did generate some interest - 32 per cent of members voted, about twice as many as usual. But the group failed in its move for more transparency of the £5m spent on the project.
A vote of no confidence in the current management was also lost by 76.5 per cent against 23.5 per cent.
The procedure all got a bit unpleasant for the normally placid group with accusations of libel and threats of lawsuits flying around.
The BCS, which now likes to be called the Chartered Institute for IT rather than the British Computer Society, said today it was time to win back members of its disgruntled rump.
Bob Assirati, Deputy President explains: “Following the EGM and vote, our priority is to re-build bridges across the organisation and tackle the deep rooted concerns of some members.
Members of the group, which meets for the first time today, will be chaired by Adrian Williamson, from the Trustee Board. Other members include Bob Assirati, Bob Harvey, Adrian Walmsley, Chris Andrews, Sheila Bullas and Iain Thompson.
The move has won support from Ken Leighley, the BCS's Oliver Cromwell and leader of the rebels.
He's quoted in the BCS release as welcoming the attempt to address the issues and hoped it would help the BCS move forward in a way which "supports all aspects of the organisation".
The BCS brings in £30m a year and employs 266 people. ®
ACCU is where its at.
BCS is just a management playground. If you are serious about the art of programming you join ACCU. I was a member of BCS years ago and found it to be useless and largely irrelevant.
Without wishing to either support or denigrate either the ACCU or the BCS, you have to acknowledge that in terms of IT, programming is actually only one small facet of what goes on.
I'm a true geek who enjoys programming for the sake of it and thought it ludicrous people would pay me to do it!
However, IT in general is so ridiculously full of cowboys its not funny. The profession needs something like a Charted IT Professional qualification thats not controlled by some company or other (Microsoft and Cisco, I'm looking at you!) that can mean something to people who aren't IT literate and give them some confidence in hiring people with it.
Now, I'm not saying that the BCS's program is actually any good in filling that gap, but someone, somewhere does need to do so. God knows degrees in IT are worthless for filtering out the idiots...
If we can make some progress on this, perhaps we can get away from badly specced IT projects that are inherently undeliverable and end up with less time wasted on projects that end up being cancelled half way through...
More of the Same
I have been a member of the BCS for over 40 years. I claimed the annual fee as an expense and felt there might one day be value in putting a few more letters after my name. No such luck. The BCS is largely seen as irrelevant. The people who work in a leading edge website research firm I am involved with laugh at the content of the BCS meetings I have pushed their way.
i spent many years working in California and discovered that paper qualifications mean little to most Silicon Valley firms. It helps to get in the door if you have a computer science degree, but after that you are judged almost exclusively by your track record. Those I have met here with computer science degrees and/or BCS membership at various levels find it hard to understand that their qualifications are usually worthless. Indeed e-skills (a quango partly funded by employers) has rated many British university computer science course and is unimpressed.
What to do? Is there any real need for the BCS? I feel that, on balance, there is not. Over 90% of the people working in IT in this country do not belong to it, and see no reason to belong. In the past the Society has made (pathetic) efforts to suggest that unless you were a member you might not be any good at your job. They have tried hard to introduce the concept of professionalism to an industry that needs it, but there are no effective sanctions for bad behaviour ("If you don't behave you can't call yourself MBCS" is not very frightening).
The right answer is probably to start again with a clean sheet of paper (a blank monitor?), and to keep the academics away. They often dominate the infighting that has prevented the BCS from becoming an effective force. How do I know this? I am an ex-academic. But it might be easier just to close the whole thing down.
"attempts to modernise have met resistance "
I'm not a member but I'm wondering what "modernise" means in this context.
First, "modernise" was what Tony Blair did to the Labour Party and look where that got us all. It made him and his family disgustingly rich though so maybe that's OK; after all, wealth is the ultimate objective (the stuff about camels and needles was just a joke, wasn't it?).
Second, what do members want from "modernisation"? For example, a .sig I've seen around and enjoyed says "legacy = stuff that works". There's a certain amount of truth in that; today's young 'uns seem to think that new necessarily means improved, whereas what it often means is repeating mistakes that the more experienced folks learned from twenty years or more ago, which in other branches of engineering and technology would be considered rather foolish, but repeating other people's mistakes in IT is considered normal behaviour?
I didn't know...
...that they now preferred to be called the Chartered Institute for IT (or whatever).
Unfortunately, I can't resist the temptation to shorten that to ChIIT (pronounced "Shee-it!" in the best tradition of Dodge-Charger-driving redneck good ol' boys everywhere). Or something like that anyway.