IT is from Mars and Development is from Venus

IT is from Mars and Development is from Venus

Last week, I was having lunch with a former colleague. He wanted to get my feedback on a new online service he was developing. When we started discussing target markets and users (which he had not considered deeply), he immediately mentioned ‘developers and IT.’

This is not the first time I have heard developers and IT used synonymously and interchangeably.

While there maybe a strong value proposition for each, these groups are distinct with their own unique motivations and interests. Lumping them as a single target user market is bound to fail.

Here is an anecdote from one of the best enterprise salespeople I know: upon completion of intense sales negotiations for a major deal, the procurement person proceeded to tell my friend, “we have two types of technical people at our company: those that build shit and those that plug shit in. You will be dealing with the folks that plug shit in…”

Now obviously, this is a disservice to IT, but I love the clarity it provides in terms of the role of IT vs development.

IT is primarily focused on security, dependability, compatibility, resiliency, standardization, and risk mitigation, while development is primarily concerned with agility, performance, efficiency, productivity, and flexibility.

For enterprise solutions, you may have to interact with either or both groups. Be prepared to address their unique concerns but don’t confuse objection handling with clearly understanding and addressing the needs of your target users.

How do you describe the differences between IT and development?

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