Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

10.5 People

The paradigm shift is not just a technical change but also a sociological and organizational change. You need to be aware of the people issues surrounding an open, COTS-based systems approach and to be committed to dealing with them.

10.5.1 People Issues

Issues that managers need to take into account and deal with before they become problems are

  • People's jobs and job security

  • Staff's comfort and stress level

  • Training and education

  • Performance evaluation and incentives

  • Organizational changes

  • Bases of managerial power and influence

People need to understand that evolving to an open, COTS-based acquisition approach does not necessarily mean that their jobs are in jeopardy. But people may be asked to perform tasks that are unfamiliar, break old habits to form new ones, or gain new responsibilities or be asked to relinquish previous ones.

For example, someone who is used to working alone may see being asked to work on a team as a sign that he or she has not been doing a good job. That person may also resent the interference or have had bad experiences working on teams. These experiences are not unique to an open, COTS-based systems. However, effective teaming is very important to success.

It is important to look for opportunities that provide "skill portability" whenever possible. For example, a person who has done testing for an in-house development team has important skills, but they may need to be augmented with new skills for black-box testing of COTS products.

When people are asked to change the way they do business, it is natural that they may become stressed or uncomfortable. Managers need to recognize these tendencies and create a nonthreatening work environment.

Think of a person, sitting alone at their desk, who has not had to interact with others, happy in the world of development. In the open systems world, this person is told to look up and look around. The person does so and realizes that this new world cannot be controlled in the way that the earlier environment was. With time and familiarity, not to mention training and management support, this person's stress should start to abate. This situation presents a prime opportunity for managers to demonstrate real leadership.

Training and education are vital for a successful transition to open, COTS-based systems. Managers need to provide or point out opportunities for learning terminology and concepts and how to complete certain tasks. For example, a few courses teach the basics of open, COTS-based systems, and organizations provide information about standards (see Section 6.7) and COTS products and vendors.

Managers also need to devise ways to evaluate staff performance and to provide incentives for a job well done. This is a challenge because using open, COTS-based systems is a new way of doing business; old measures may not apply. For example, how do you rate someone's ability to evaluate alternative standards and to select one?

Organizational changes resulting from the change to COTS products and open systems are another issue that managers need to consider. Someone may be promoted to management and inherit problems from a previous manager. This person may have to report to someone who has no understanding of open or COTS-based systems and their importance or who may be lagging on the learning curve. Downsizing, budget constraints, and shortened schedules can all result in or be the result of organizational changes. Examples are the elimination of a maintenance group or the initiation of a market research group.

Bases of managerial power and influence should not be downplayed, and they too can be the victim of organizational changes. You need to lead by example, knowing that others look to you to set the vision and the tone. The people networks on which you depend may change with the corresponding changes for open, COTS-based systems, so power structures and relationships change. You need to be prepared for this and make appropriate plans.

As if this degree of change were not enough, the change to open, COTS-based systems usually does not occur in isolation; other disciplines are likely to be introduced and used at the same time. Examples of these other disciplines are reuse, reverse engineering, reengineering, process improvement, and concurrent engineering. These disciplines are mostly synergistic, not in conflict, with an open, COTS-based approach. Rather, an open, COTS-based approach can be viewed as another improvement in tandem with some of these examples. But this introduction of additional new disciplines increases the stress of change.

Up to this point, you have been reading about all the new information you will have to know before you can take advantage of open or COTS-based systems. You are already equipped to deal with a large number of open systems and COTS product issues. We cannot emphasize enough that the transition to open, COTS-based systems is an evolution, not one big change. Ask yourself whether you are ready to make judgments—or to oversee others who are making those judgments—about the maturity of standards and COTS products. Are you prepared to take a team approach, including your contractors, when you are planning and scheduling the use of an open, COTS-based approach? Your affinity for flexibility and willingness to deal with change will be important attributes you want to foster in both yourself and your staff.

10.5.2 Addressing the People Issues

There are general ways to alleviate some of the concerns resulting from the change to open, COTS-based systems. Ensure that everyone involved in the effort understands open, COTS-based systems; they need training in these areas. Use a team-based approach with explicit, open, and honest communication.

Resistance to change is a natural human response, and managers need to deal with it. Resistance indicates that a person either disagrees with or is uncomfortable with a situation. Managers need to recognize that everyone has a personal frame of reference, based on experiences. Once again, explicit communication is necessary to dissolve resistance and to promote cooperation and enthusiasm.

Management Style

The magazine Inc. surveyed top executives and asked them to identify films that influenced their management style. The top ten films were

  • Twelve O'Clock High

  • 12 Angry Men

  • Apollo 13

  • It's a Wonderful Life

  • Dead Poets Society

  • Norma Rae

  • Bridge on the River Kwai

  • Glengarry Glen Ross

  • Elizabeth

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020