|Research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs|
A glimpse of salvation
We can break free from the major management problems of IT by designing systems differently.
On our heretical journey we have seen that the major management problems in IT can be traced back to designs that we have historically used to provide workable and cost-effective solutions. We have seen that our current IT management approaches do not fix the underlying problems. They help us cope with complexity and misalignment, but by so doing they unwittingly dig us further in.
To break free from this, we have to go further than trying to cope with complexity and misalignment. We need to fix the underlying problem by using advances in technology to design simpler systems.
These advances let us design systems which encapsulate their technology stack, rather than having each layer in the stack as an external, independent, shared layer. This makes IT much simpler. IT becomes a set of independent systems, not a sea of components implemented across shared layers.
This "system orientation" is only part of the story. We also need to make systems more aligned and understandable to the broader business. We need to make sure that each system is clearly owned. The capabilities of the system to store, process and communicate information should lie within their owner's business responsibility. Interfaces should be authoritative flows of meaning and responsibility, not just an implementation detail gluing two components together. We could call this "responsibility orientation".
This sort of change has happened before, when we moved from assemblers to third generation languages, indexed file systems to relational databases, and from procedural coding to object orientation. In each of these transitions we accepted some loss of technical efficiency for a gain in human efficiency through better understanding. We need to do the same for system architecture.
System orientation and responsibility orientation provide focus to help us run smaller, more effective projects. They provide clarity and allow independent change which helps manage "legacy" situations. They remove complicated technical structures and reduce the demand for scarce skills. But these are the tip of the iceberg. Next week I will cover the full impacts of these changes, which go much further than system design.Next: The dismantling of IT
Minimal IT: research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs.