Why do we have to fight?

In Why do we have to fight?, Robert Nyman goes on a bit of a rant on decision makers, project managers, and tool manufacturers that prevent web developers from doing things right.

This has been a problem for as long as I have worked in the web industry, but you’d think that with web designers and developers finally starting to improve their ways that management would too. Unfortunately this is rarely the case.

I posted this in a comment on Robert’s post:

A theory I have is that many decision makers and project managers in the web industry aren’t really all that interested in the web. They just happen to work at a company that creates websites. They could just as well be working in any industry. Making decisions and managing projects is what drives them, not building websites.

I think we’ll be fighting for years to come.

Posted on September 14, 2005 in Quicklinks, Web Standards


  1. Oh, it’s definitely a rant of mine…
    I just had one of days when one gets both sad and angry about the lack of engagement in decision makers, that they don’t have any bigger interest in learning how to vastly improve their way of delivering good web sites while at the same time making/saving more money.

  2. Ofcourse there is a difference of opinion, you don’t have the same objectives. To me that is self evident. Your drive is quality, the project managers drive is time, the business driver is money. These opposites are very hard to reconcile :-)

  3. September 14, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Meint: Sure, but I think it’s reasonable to require project managers and company management to have some knowledge of how the web works. I have worked on huge web projects lead by project managers who just barely know how to use a computer.

    And Robert’s point (unless I’m totally missing the point ;-) ) is that by doing things right you can save money, but management people don’t see that because they don’t understand the web.

  4. I think it is a mentality of “I’m not a designer or developer, so why do I need to know that stuff”. Maybe it’s me, but I try to learn as much as I can about the company I work for, what they do, and what I can do to improve business. A Project Manager doesn’t need to know code, but a general understanding in how development and design work would be great. Oh and a willingness to learn would definitely help out.

  5. Roger,

    You’re spot on. That was exactly my point.

  6. Roger,

    And Robert’s point (unless I’m totally missing the point ;-) ) is that by doing things right you can save money, but management people don’t see that because they don’t understand the web.

    I totally agree but you make these changes yourselve by expressing them in money/time advantages and not by turning business/projectmanager into standards enthousiasts :-) I found the work done by Doug Bowman on the Microsoft website an example of the right way to do it by calculating the savings an orthogonal design (separate content/presentation) can yield.

    Maybe I’m misreading Robert but I don’t expect enthousiasm from “the other side” (so I’m not bothered if its lacking) but I do expect interest when I express my ideas in time/money advantages.

  7. September 15, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Meint: Agreed, you need to express it to them in terms they understand.

    Another potential problem is that in the short term using web standards may actually both increase costs and take longer because the developers lack the necessary skills. So companies need to invest time and money in their employees to make sure their skills are up to date. And some just don’t want to do that.

  8. Meint,

    I don’t need enthusiasm from them either (even if it would be nice :-)).

    What I do expect from them, however, is to either know about all these factors that will make/save them money and save time, or for them to take the measures necessary to gain that knowledge.


    Yep, you’re right. To be blunt, many developers out there are sub-par, and instead of focusing on that and upgrading their skills and making some demands on them, the people responsible choose to just look the other way instead.

  9. I completely agree. Just recently, I was involved in a project where management made some awful decisions regarding implementation.

    Despite my strong objections, they still went ahead with them and, as I predicted, the resulting problems were enormous and it actually sent the project over time/budget as we had to find solutions for these problems that would never have existed if they’d listened to me in the first place.

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