I am frequently appalled by the lack of rigor in this craft and this has been recently highlighted to me by a linguistic habit that I suspect comes from a younger generation. ( Sorry guys feel free to have a hack at the old bastard!)
That is the use of the answer Yes/No to a question. As I pointed out to one of our juniors Yes and No are binary. If architecture is about driving out ambiguity then this kind of answer is unacceptable. I suspect that this structure is the consequence of not wanting to convey information that might be construed as “bad news” to ones superiors or clients . If this is the case then the organization needs to take as serious look at the behavior of its leaders because they are responsible for this. They are suppressing information for their own comfort that ultimately the organization will pay for.
Answers, particularly architectural answers, are not about making the boss feel good. They are about logically and concisely passing on information. As the mediation gurus say it is neither good nor bad it just is. If you can’t handle that then you’re not leadership material and I suggest you get out of the way because things are hard enough without the irrational bullshit.
For those of you with an academic inclination I suggest looking up Jerry Luftman’s work. His work on alignments suggests a set of maturities that an organization must develop and guess what’s top of his list … communication!
Anyway, I’m going to finish off with a list of similar useless communicative structures and what they really signify. I wonder how many you’ve encountered this week? If you’ve got any favorites I’d like to hear them.
- Just …. As in just do this or that … I haven’t thought it through.
- All …. As in all you need to do is …. I haven’t thought it through.
- I think …. As in a response to how does this work? … I don’t know.
- Well basically … I don’t have a clue
- I’d like … I ‘m not sure what, but something like … I don’t have a clue
- I want … I want this or that … I don’t know what I need
- Oh! it works like that! …. I was bluffing before I don’t really know anything about it
- The specification could be interpreted in different ways … its not a specification or I haven’t actually read it and I was bluffing before.
- It’s in the design … As in how does this work? … Don’t ask me I was hoping someone else would figure out!