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Rest in peace Ross Perot! You were a disruptor of the IT consulting business and way ahead of your time!

Henry Ross Perot passed away on July 9, 2019. He was the founder and chief executive officer of Electronic Data Systems (EDS). He later became a business magnate, billionaire, philanthropist, and politician.

EDS was the big gun IT consulting company way, way, back in my IBM assembler and Cobol coding days. Yup on the ole IBM mainframes too. As I read about his passing in the local Chicago Daily Herald, I noticed a great quote by Perot that I had forgotten about.

ON MANAGEMENT: “The first EDSer to see a snake kills it. At GM, first thing you do is organize a committee on snakes. Then you bring in a consultant who knows a lot about snakes. Third thing you do is talk about it for a year.” (Deriding the business acumen at General Motors compared to his Electronic Data Systems Corp., to BusinessWeek in 1986).

Many of my peers left their jobs to work at EDS. I worked with EDS consultants on several major projects for CNA Insurance in Chicago (that BIG RED building in the Chicago skyline). And in a bit of irony in the Perot quote, all the projects with EDS consultants that I worked on were 12+ month waterfall projects!

I can’t imagine an Agile project today taking 12 months! So DBAs please kill the snake and do NOT turn it into a 12+ month project! Right?


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