13 Barriers to Reusepost by Chris Curran on June 22, 2010
MIT Center for Information Systems Research held its 2010 summer session last week. Wednesday’s session covered innovation and agility - as part of the agility discussion CISR shared some great research on reuse. Peter Weill, the Center’s chairman led an interactive discussion to uncover the reasons that companies don’t reuse. For the purposes of this discussion, reuse was defined as using something that already exists - to include code reuse, processes, data, designs, whatever.
Interestingly, few if any of the barriers discussed were technology related. Rather, they were about the behaviors, politics and corporate cultures.
See if this list rings true for you and add any thoughts or ones I missed by leaving me a comment!
Barriers to Design, Process and Code Reuse
- No one will pay for the initial development of a shared component
- The component was not initially designed to be reused - no broad requirements consideration, poor interfaces, lack of documentation
- Lack of recognition for the original builders
- No one willing to support it for other users
- Unclear how to find, use, customize, extend the reusable code
- Unwilling to accept less that 100% functional fit
- Belief that a new thing is always better
- Belief that my job is to create things and that reusing code reduces my value
- Reuse reduces my ability to be innovative
- Unwilling to give up total control of the component’s design, building and operation
- Lack of incentives to create or use reusable code, designs, etc.
- Organizational structures don’t motivate employees to talk, share and innovate outside of their business areas
- An SOA program does not drive reuse itself
MIT’s research found that firms with higher levels of reuse of their digital assets grow faster and have lower costs. Faster growth makes sense to me. However, lower costs from reuse is a tricky one. In research Diamond did on SOA adoption (also with CISR interestingly), companies reported little if any cost savings from their SOA investments. Instead, they reported the most benefits in bringing new and enhanced business capabilities to market faster.