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Ask The IT Director: Cantujust Dilemma

November 30, 2021

Dear IT Director,
People seem to think that IT has an “easy button.” That we can just make simple changes and slap it into production quickly. How can I respond to this nonsense?
Frustrated in Fresno

Dear Frustrated,

I feel your pain on this. As with most jobs, there are details in our work that others don’t understand. The better we do our job, the easier it looks to others. But, if we are honest, we have probably done this ourselves. How many times do plumbers get called because we thought a task was easy enough to do ourselves and found out the hard way that it isn’t? Ok, maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think so.

A leader in my company talks about the word “Cantujust.” “Cantujust slip that into the code?” “Cantujust add a custom field?” “Cantujust update all the records directly?” “Cantujust create a quick app for that?”

IT Professionals face the Cantujust Dilemma frequently. How can we respond when this happens?

  • I prefer to use the word “straightforward” instead of “easy” to refer to tasks that we know how to do and don’t take long.
  • Talk about Cantujust. Every department gets the Cantujust requests. It may not be that hard to get them to see the parallels.
  • Make sure that everyone understands the problem statement. “Cantujust” is often used to suggest a quick fix. We are never fast enough for the rest of the company so well-meaning people try to reduce the work we need to do.
  • List the parts of the tasks that they may not see. Or list the risks we might run into if we don’t do it right.
  • There are tasks that should be quick. Do them right, do them fast.

Many will never understand why IT takes as long as it does. Don’t expect otherwise. All you can do is keep trying to get faster and keep explaining why we can’t Cantujust.

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