OK, we are going to unofficially pronounce that we’ve come up with a new engineering term, “Technical Decay.” Why? Because we did a Google Search and could not find an adequate definition or description, and we all know that if something doesn’t show up on the first page of a google search then it doesn’t exist!
So what is Technical Decay? We at DoRight Solutions consider Technical Decay to be the slow and deteriorating technical skill set of an engineer that has been in a particular role for too long.
From an employer's bottom line perspective, there may be nothing wrong with the Technical Decay of an engineer. The system has been built, it’s stable, and it’s generating revenue. It’s the ideal scenario from a bottom line perspective.
The issue is that it’s somewhat short sighted for a number of reasons. The first being that change is a constant, and sooner vs. later your fickle customers will want something new, shiny, and exciting to meet their needs, or their process will simply have changed and your system will no longer be able to meet their needs as is.
Equally as important, are your team members. Some of whom will have sat for years supporting a system that utilizes legacy technology all the while becoming less and less valuable to you and the market by the day, hence the term “Technical Decay!"
So what’s the answer? The answer is to embrace our philosophy “The right people, at the right time, for the right price.” It means that you should diversify your mix of staff with both long term employees as well as Independent contractors. Why? Because long term technical employees will help to preserve the all important institutional knowledge and continuity of your applications. Technical Decay will still be an issue for these folks, but you can help to combat that with training opportunities and with the use of Independent contractors.
The very nature of an independent contractor is such that he or she has been around the block and comes with the skill sets needed to either alleviate your long term employed staff from mundane maintenance procedures, for which they may be getting paid too much for, or for introducing the new skill sets needed to address the change your customers demand. This is what we call a Win/Win scenario!
-The DoRight Solutions Team