I’ve joked for some time that I’m waiting for the first leader of a business to class themselves as Emperor. It seems to me that business leader job titles have evolved from Director to Managing Director through to Chairman and on to President and more recently to Chief Executive Officer. leaving those behind them pick up the names that they have previously cast off.
Definitions are part of the world that I inhabit. Sometimes I’m required to spend more time on agreeing the definition of something.
For years now people have tried, and largely failed, to be clear about the definition of the role of ‘architect’ within the general IT arena.
My view has mostly been that in this arena definitions are pointless because they rarely have any influence on the capabilities of the people that I am working with. Solution Architect, IT Architects, Enterprise Architect, Data Architect, Information Architect, Technical Architect all seemed to result in a very similar set of capabilities in the people employed.
I’m starting to change my mind though, but not because I think that the terms themselves have any value. My change of mind is being driven by a different reason – because other people care.
It doesn’t really matter to me what ‘type’ of architect people define me as long as I get to do interesting work. The problem is that others perceive what comes with the definition. they expect a XYZ Architect to do something different to an ABC Architect.
People’s understanding of what each of these definitions actually means covers a very broad spectrum and people fight bitterly for the ‘higher-ground’ definitions.
This shouldn’t really surprise me because as I said at the beginning I live in a world were definitions are important to people.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of work recently with App-V and Office 2010. During this activity we’ve come across an invaluable article on some of the issues and limitations that you are going to face if you go down that route:
Known issues and limitations when using virtualized Office 2010 applications on App-V 4.6 and App-V 4.5 SP2 clients
The other day i was sat pondering what had happened to the identity Cards infrastructure after the project had been scrapped.
Well today I came across this video:
ID Cards Database Destroyed
I’ve watched the progress of the UK Identity Cards project for quite some time, primarily because of the writing’s of Kim Cameron.
From Kim’s perspective the project was doomed from the start, because it broke the fundamental Laws of Identity.
Readers of Identityblog will recall that the British scheme was exceptional in breaking so many of the Laws of Identity at once. It flaunted the first law – User control and Consent – since citizen participation was mandatory. It broke the second – Minimal Disclosure for a Constrained Use – since it followed the premise that as much information as possible should be assembled in a central location for whatever uses might arise… The third law of Justifiable Parties was not addressed given the centralized architecture of the system, in which all departments would have made queries and posted updates to the same database and access could have been extended at the flick of a wrist. And the fourth law of “Directed Identity” was a clear non-goal, since the whole idea was to use a single identifier to unify all possible information.
It also stands out as an example of poor Conceptual Integrity – get it wrong at the outset and you end up in a complete mess.
I’m really enjoying the way that Rich Pictures have entered into the consciousness of the place where I work.
Actually, it’s gone even further than that, I was recently at a customer presentation, with a customer I didn’t know, and they displayed a Rich Picture in the format I’ve been using.
The use for these pictures that I see repeatedly is to display a people perspective for a problem and/or a solution.
The use of people icons and speech bubbles abound – “I need a….”, “Why is this…”
This is a huge result, not because it’s people using Rich Pictures, but because it’s people taking the time to consider the perspective of the people in the middle of the problem, or the solution.
I’ve witnessed the entropy of many a fine concept in my time.
For those of you who have forgotten your schoolboy physics a quick reminder on what entropy is – and there are a lot of fine definitions, but I want to focus on a simple illustration. Entropy is what happen to your kettle after you have turned it off – it cools down until it is at room temperature. All of the heat dissipates until the temperature of the kettle is no different to everything else around it – well almost.
Within the IT arena we come up with all sorts of good ideas, but I’ve seen many of these ideas go through the same entropy cycle.
- The cycle starts with an idea.
- The idea warms up things around it as people subscribe to the idea and see it’s relevance.
- The idea gets developed into a concept and a way of thinking beyond the first idea.
- Thought leaders start to understand how the concept could be applied within their context – whether that’s a business, an organisation, or from a personal viewpoint. These thought leaders make the best use of the concept and it makes a real difference to their context.
At this point the system is still being heated up – the concept is still cooking, but entropy is about to kick in.
- The concept starts to enter the mainstream.
- Consultants start to see the concept as a way of generating more work by helping organisations to apply the concept to their environment.
- Product companies see a whole new revenue stream from delivering products targeted at delivering the concept.
- Because it is something tangible the products become synonymous with the concept in the minds of those that use the product.
- The products enter the mainstream and become the concept and consulting review from the concept starts to decline.
- At this point the consultants start to look for the next concept to jump onto leaving the old concept to the product providers.
- The concept entropy is complete.
SOA is the last years concept, Cloud is this years. SOA has just finished the cycle, Cloud is on it’s way through the products phase.
I said at the beginning that a kettle cools down until it is just like everything else around it – well almost – and it’s that well almost that is important. The extra heat that the concept has generated doesn’t die – it’s just been dissipated throughout the other systems. The products that get delivered to enable a concept still live on making a difference to the way that organisations work. The products aren’t delivering the concept, but the residue of the concept that lives in the products is making a difference to systems around them.