Response Article – Think aggressively, Act conservatively

This article is a response to the post ”Conservatism has no place in project management”.

In this original post, the author stated the fact that project managers often refuse to accept new technologies in their project which is way too conservative in the author’s point of view. Instead, it was suggested to always try new technologies because the version control guarantees the changes are safe. If things do not work out then revoke the changes and go back to the old version, only certain amount of time was wasted, nothing else. I disagree with this and I think the author has oversimplified the situation. If the adopted new technology were eventually proven to fail, things would be a lot worse than just “losing an unmeasurable amount of time”. Chances are it will be working perfectly in the beginning and start to present the shortcomings(caused by requirement changes/new features) after a period of time. This could be as long as weeks or even months. It would be a disaster to roll back to the version of months ago. Even it is been promptly stopped after two weeks, it is still much worse than it sounds like(two weeks can be as long as an integration in agile development environment).

New technology is attractive, but just attractive

The author believed project managers often over estimate the cost of learning new technologies and underestimate the benefit of that. I agree to the first part of it(over estimate the cost of learning new technologies) however disagree to the rest. Experienced developers can easily learn a new technology in short time and most importantly they are keen to learn new things! The fact is developers will get bored by using the same technology and repeating the same thing all the time, they have the passion to learn. However, I doubt how much value it would bring by adapting new technologies. Illusions are new technologies will outperform old ones because they are more advanced, have more useful features etc. It is undeniable that new technologies can perform better than the old one, but not always. Too much focuses on these advantages would leave the negatives ignored; the new technologies are new! A technology is new means that there are few people using it, limited resources about it, little help you can get on it. There are lots of potential bugs it new technologies have not been observed yet and expected to change in the future. This means unstable and certainly it is not something we want. Technologies are nothing more than tools to us. We use them to solve things rather than causing problems or get hurt someday in the future. Old things are proved to be true and strong while a lot of uncertainties in the new ones. There are a lot of risks in adopting new technologies and it is a critical decision to make.

Think carefully before move

New technologies can bring us beneficial then why we do not use them? We will, but not so quick. It’s too risky to adopt a new technology without enough research on it. We need to make sure that we can certainly benefit from it while the risks are acceptable. Based on my software working experience, a good idea would be assigning someone knows the current system well to evaluate the new technology. This step is essential because it tries to minimize the risks. A full study of the technology would include speed, performance, robustness, maturity, ease to use, cost of employment etc. Also we have to evaluate the possibility of affecting the current system in a bad way(slow down/break up some features)and if it is suitable in the context of our circumstances and any other factors it may affect the system. After we have made a thorough evaluation of the new technology and the result shows it is a good idea to introduce it to the system then be brave to do it without any hesitations. As long as we can control the risks, new technologies are our best friends. So we should not fear them, instead, any possible new technologies are welcome to be brought on the table for discussion because they can make our life easier and enjoyable.


Adopting a new technology in a large-scale long-term software development is valuable while very risky. The author of original post thinks that many project managers have been too conservative to waste the potential benefits a new technology may bring. I agree the author’s opinion that we can benefit from new technologies but disagree with it because the author seemed to be underestimating the risks behind it. I have elaborated on these in the post and suggested to be proactive to think any possibility of employing new technologies but do a full research and think carefully before the actual move.