Michael D. Harris On DCG's 20th Anniversary

DCG 1994 Logo 2C

This is the second post in a series that will offer our management team's reflections on DCG's 20th anniversary and the state of the software industry. The first post is located here.

DCG’s 20th anniversary is a cause for celebration and reflection, so I’d like to take an opportunity to reflect a little on the past 20 years. Naturally, being a metrics sort of person, as I think about the past 20 years, I look for yardsticks for comparison. It just happens that I have the perfect one – our youngest child has his 20th birthday this month! I have to say that while twenty years seems like a long time for a company to be in business, it seems like a very short time in the life of our young son.

Of course, I am a relative latecomer on the scene at DCG. David Garmus and David Herron founded the company in 1994 and ran it for the first 12 years. I owe a debt of gratitude to them because I am sure that launching a new business is a lot harder than keeping an existing one moving forward. Of course, I could argue in the context of my son’s life that I have had to deal the “teenage years” of DCG, but both son and company have been a pleasure these past few years. In both cases, I like to think it was because of the time and effort invested in the early years!

So, how is DCG’s world different from 20 years ago? For this, I’m going to use another convenient yardstick – my just-over-19-years of working in the U.S. When I first came to work here, it was on a five month project for MasterCard. I was Deputy Head of the Engineering Dept. at Nene College (now University of Northampton) in the U.K. at the time. The project was good for the college because it brought in much needed cash, and it was good for MasterCard (the project led to the development of credit/debit card standards for chip cards), and, we hoped it would be a good opportunity for the Harris family to see if a couple of years of living in the U.S. might be a practical, as well as exciting, adventure (it still is!). 

Of course, with a particular emphasis on software, 20 years ago I booked my flights and hotels for the trip by phone, not on the web. The family, including my (not-yet-one-year-old) son, stayed at home until the end of the school year, so my wife, our two older girls and I communicated via CompuServe on dial-up modems! Whether or not the internet existed when the Davids started DCG depends on your definition of “existed.”  From my perspective, we certainly were not thinking about using it on a day-to-day basis. Yet, five years later, after two years of working for MasterCard as a consultant and three years as an employee – one of my peers at MasterCard was “Head of ecommerce!" That five years was the first five years of DCG’s existence.

One of the things we notice at DCG is that many of the services we provide are valuable to our clients on an ongoing basis, but when there is something big going on in the industry (the introduction of the internet, the recession, the sequester, server virtualization, the cloud, etc.), it turns heads and attention (and money) from the “blocking and tackling” of improved project management, which is our clients' bread and butter. I can only imagine what it must have been like starting a metrics and process improvement business in the heady days of the dot com boom. Kudos and thanks to the Davids for making a go of it; I hope we carry on for another 20 years!

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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