2 years, 8 days ago

Systems Thinking Complicates Things

  I’ve had the honor and pleasure of appearing as a regular on Tom Cagley‘s SPaMCast podcast for almost three years now. Before I write one of my “Form Follows Function on SPaMCast x” posts, I always listen to the podcast to make sure that the summary is right (the implication being, relying purely on […]

2 years, 8 months ago

I fought the law (of unintended consequences) and the law won

Sometimes, what seemed to be a really good idea just doesn’t turn out that way in the end. In my opinion, a lack of a systems approach to problem solving makes that type of outcome much more likely. Simplistic responses to issues that fail to deal with problems holistically can backfire. Such ill-considered solutions not […]

2 years, 10 months ago

Babies, Bathwater, and Software Architects

I try to be disciplined about my writing (picking themes, creating a backlog, collecting notes and links on those topics, etc.), but it seems like serendipity won’t be denied, no matter what I do. On the same day that XKCD published this cartoon, Erik Dietrich published “Software Architect as a Developer Pension Plan”. While I […]

2 years, 11 months ago

All Aboard the Innovation Band Wagon?

  It seems like everyone wants to be an innovator nowadays. Being “digital” is in – never mind what it means, you’ve just got to be “digital”. Being innovative, however, is more than being buzzword-compliant. Being innovative, particularly in a digital sense, means solving problems (for customers, not yourself) in a new way with technology. […]

3 years, 4 months ago

Abstract Dangers – When ‘And’ Meets ‘Or’

There’s an old saying that if you put one foot in a bucket of ice and the other in a bucket of boiling water, on average you’re comfortable. Sometimes analyzing information in the aggregate obscures rather than enlightens. A statistician named Francis Anscombe pointed out this same principle in a more visual (though less colorful) […]

3 years, 4 months ago

better problems and technology knowledge transfer

Often, the work of problem-solving spurs the creation, or escalation of other problems. Most are implications of solution execution; expected or not. Sometimes though, the new problem is a result of poking and prodding the original problem, long before solution work. While considering your problem, you unearth a better problem. Not better as in more […]

3 years, 4 months ago

Innovation – What’s Old can be New Again

There’s an old rhyme about what a bride should wear for luck on her wedding day: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…”. While reading an article on the origins of the US highway system, I thought about this rhyme in relation to the concept of innovation. Part of that article related the US […]

3 years, 6 months ago

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss, Just Good Tactics

There’s an old saying about what happens when you assume. The fast lane to asininity seems to run through the land of hubris. Anshu Sharma’s Tech Crunch article, “Why Big Companies Keep Failing: The Stack Fallacy”, illustrates this: Stack fallacy has caused many companies to attempt to capture new markets and fail spectacularly. When you […]

3 years, 8 months ago

The Seductive Myth of Greenfield Development

Greger Wikstrand‘s tweet from earlier this week packed a wealth of inspiration into one image: The second statement particularly resonated with me: “The present is built on the past.” How often do we, or those around us, long for a chance to do things “from scratch”. The idea being, without the constraints of “legacy” code, […]

3 years, 9 months ago

We Deliver Decisions (Who Needs Architects?)

What do medicine, situational awareness, economics, confirmation bias, and value all have to do with all have to do with the architectural design of software systems? Quite a lot, actually. To connect the dots, we need to start from the point of view that the architecture is essentially a set of design decisions intended to […]

4 years, 6 months ago

Informing the pursuit of digital era ambitions and challenges

I never intend to halt my public writing. It just happens. A client invites me to work on interesting problem, which can lead to another interesting problem or client, and before long only the crickets remain here. During this latest, much prolonged, cricket chorus I’ve been helping clients pursue digital agenda items. It is critical to […]

4 years, 6 months ago

Want better answers? Ask better questions.

Some years ago, I was engaged in a discussion with leadership peers on tackling a particularly challenging issue that seemingly had no answer to satisfy the trifecta of ambitions, resource constraints and ability to execute. We’ve all been in this meeting. You circle until one of two things happens. Some person or faction gives in, […]