A recent incident seems to throw a new light on a familiar problem; it occurred when a friend of mine asked me to visit his organisation and ‘see a really good data processing department in action’. He is a data processing manager, and the organisation’s headquarters are in a pleasant market town within 100 miles of London. The unit seemed to be effective and, since it was set up five years before, had a good record of instituting and maintaining a number of successful computer systems, although there were now some difficulties in integrating these systems as the company embarked on a new, more complex, phase in its data processing. It was not long before my friend came out with his proud boast: ‘Of the nine systems analysts and programmers who formed my original team, only one has left–and she departed to have a baby!’ When I sympathised that only one had left and asked him what he was going to do, he seemed hurt–what did I mean, do? I wondered mildly if he had not had to spend rather more than usual on training to make up for the lack of infusion of new blood and fresh ideas? Well, he said, actually there had been such day-to-day pressure that training had had to slip back a bit in the priorities. But there was a good deal of self-education and everyone was interested enough in the job to talk among themselves about all the latest data processing developments….