Reflections on NIH Syndrome

During the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about “To Do” lists – specifically how I wanted one. It was my plan to write my own, despite the fact that I have been using Evernote for years and that there are literally thousands already out there already. For the longest time, it never even occurred to me to use a manager that already existed. Or even just to use pen and paper for the simple lists I needed. No – it had to be exactly as I wanted it.

This is pretty much the definition of NIH syndrome – Not Invented Here.

NIH syndrome can be a huge waste of time. In fact, in the past I have disciplined employees for exhibiting the syndrome to the point of firing someone. Their particular version of the syndrome was a very destructive variant that might be sub-classified as “Not Invented at this Desk” syndrome. Others within the company had already done the work, but that wasn’t sufficient for this person. They absolutely had to do it themselves despite the waste of time and the egregious lack of trust in their co-workers that their attitude exhibited. The destructive effects on team relationships was unacceptable.

So, how do I justify my own hypocrisy? I want to write my own so that I can learn how to create the features I need using React, ClojureScript, Reagent, re-frame, and re-com. And maybe learn a little about server-side rendering along the way.

It’s still an enormous waste of time (to get exactly the features I want), but there is the justification that I’m learning something along the way. At least that’s my rationalization for now.