In a past post, Matters of Non-Compliance, I mentioned systems that let themselves become non-compliant. The issues I spoke about are actually issues for non-regulated systems, as well. All systems need some amount of maintenance and proper usage. However, there are other symptoms I hear among those groups who aren’t properly maintaining or using their systems. Here are some warning signs.
LIMS, ELN or LES People Who Don’t Read This Blog
First of all, from an extremely high level, I do get some ideas of the types of people who read this blog. Now, I’m not suggesting that reading this blog is so important to our industry that everyone MUST do it (well, my marketing department says otherwise, but let’s let that go, for the moment 😉 ), but it is one of the places in our industry where people can get a different perspective or information. Even if this blog doesn’t give them the information they need, it can sometimes give ideas on where to find it. And when I see some basic information about the people who read this blog, as a generality, it makes sense. There are people in our industry who would never ever want to hear information from anyone besides their own self or from someone outside their company. Then, there are the people in our industry who are always looking for new ideas and information – some of them from incredibly successful companies – but my point is that they’re always searching to find as much information and as many ideas as they can.
When I speak with companies who have let their systems go into rack-and-ruin or, if they’re regulated, to become non-compliant, I don’t think I’ve ever run into a single one who reads this blog. In addition, they also tend to be entirely uninterested in being involved with their software vendor’s groups to get advice from other users using the same software. They don’t have any interest in local meetings. I mean that, if they have Business Analysts, none of them attend local IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysts) meetings, or PMI (Project Management Institute) meetings for their Project Managers, or that their JAVA programmers attend any local programmer events. They see no value in these and would take no time to participate.
I didn’t invent this term, but I refer to this as “NIH Syndrome” and “NIH” stands for “Not Invented Here.” I’m sure all of you reading these have run across plenty of people who know that the only opinion that’s important is their own and no good ideas could possibly come from any company outside their own.
With that said, there are plenty of companies out there who appear 100% invested in “NIH Syndrome” and who can’t recognize someone else’s good idea even when they quickly come up with exactly the same idea, themselves not too long afterwards (they always find some excuse why it’s not the same, but it’s just their way of rationalizing). So, I’m not saying companies absolutely can’t be successful without some amount of networking and outside ideas.
On the other hand, how many companies (usually startups) do we know of who couldn’t hear and acknowledge ideas regarding why they were having problems with their research and eventually failed (for example, companies who clearly have contamination problems but won’t listen to anyone who tries to tell them that and then just don’t complete their research and then eventually don’t get more funding to continue).
The Truth is Painful
Yes, the truth is painful to hear. It’s easier to pretend everything is going just fantastically awesome and that there are no problems whatsoever. Those of you reading this know it and are probably not letting that stand in the way of recognizing and dealing with whatever problems come your way. When you’re stuck, you probably don’t just wander around wailing about how unfair life has been to you. Well, a little wailing is okay as a start – just not as a long-term strategy! My point, though, is that you try talking to people who might be able to help, look for journals with useful articles, and etc…
What it really comes down to is that some individuals and companies are focused on getting the work done, while others are focused on maintaining their ego.