"Not giving up on the future requires the furious pursuit of living more meaningfully well in the present."
A Trace in the Sand
by Ruth Malan
For 5 1/2 years, this journal has contained notes I've taken as I explored what it takes to be a great software, systems and enterprise architect. ... This is where I think "out loud" -- in my quiet way. I write to think, to learn, to nudge ideas around and find the insights they were hiding -- hiding sometimes "in plain sight" apparently but hidden to me. And I write to keep track of "shiny objects of desire" at least from the perspective of my magpie mind. Or to use another image: I am, as it were, a modern day gatherer, collecting roots with which to nourish my community. Roots? You know, ideas and insights and useful practices. ...
August notes went on too long, so I launched
September's page early. Let that be a lesson to me. :-)
I also write at:
- Bredemeyer Resources for Architects
Strategy, Leadership, Communication, Innovation, etc.
Of (Potential) Interest to Architects
Architects and Architecture
- Todd Hoff (highly recommended)
- Anna Liu
- JD Meier
Architect Professional Organizations
Agile and Lean
Agile and Testing
Other Software Thought Leaders
- CapGeminini's CTOblog
CTOs and CIOs
- Werner Vogels (Amazon)
- Jonathan Schwartz (Sun)
CEOs (Web 2.0)
- Don MacAskill (SmugMug)
- Wired's monkey_bites
Social Networking/Web 2.0+ Watch
- Dan Roam
- David Sibbet (The Grove)
Strategy, BI and Competitive Intelligence
- Freakonomics blog
Um... and these
- CNN Money Business of Green videos
Flaubert classically said "The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe." So, like Martin Fowler (and many before and alongside him), I write to think, to learn, to understand, to know (what I know). To draw out a wispy conception emerging in my mind's eye and give it a more resolved shape. The root of educate (Dana pointed out to me) is educo, which means to draw forth from within. Writing (words or code) is a wonderful way to do that. So is drawing (sketches or models).
Flaubert also said:
Caught up in life, you see it badly. You suffer from it or enjoy it too much. The artist, in my opinion, is a monstrosity, something outside of nature. -- Gustave Flaubert
The architect, you might say, is the artist of the system who must not be so wrapped up in its little dramas as not to see it, to study it, to draw out what it is and should become. Not a monstrosity, but outside enough, apart enough (enough of the time) from the thrash and tensions of the moment and the local of a piece of code to take in the full scope of the system and to see beyond the now, to then. To what next. And what beyond. (At least enough not to close off access to the future we want to build.)
So, even though in this age of "agile" many diss architecture documentation, I for one would strongly encourage writing about the architecture, writing the principles you urge and principles you're feeling your way towards, getting more clear about your intuition as you shape your argument, explaining and defending what you're advocating be true for the system, writing and drawing how you see a key mechanism being shaped and working, writing, writing and drawing. And then using that writing to shape your conversations, what you draw out live for the team, how you pitch the architecture to others. And so forth. Writing gives your thoughts form, gives others a mode of access to your more carefully framed and reasoned thinking. It creates external memory. And a place for interaction, for collaboration or co-creation and improvement.
"Good strategists make sure that their conclusions can withstand all kinds of critical questioning."
-- Chris Argyris, Teaching Smart People How to Learn, 1991
Architecture is about larger structures (their organization and articulation/connections/interrelationships) as well as patterns and mechanisms and how these deliver system capabilities and system integrity. This is a whole different order of system attention than coding a piece of functionality to "just make it work" or even to code a mechanism given its operating principles (the "physics" underlying its mechanics, if you like). It is discovery of those principles. It is creating a "point of view" -- a set of beliefs about how structure and dynamics interact to deliver not just the function but the desired properties. And it is sharing this point of view through designs and coaching.
Image above from: 344 Questions (via 344 Illustrated Questions to Find Life’s Big Answers, Maria Popova, 9/9/11)
9/8/11 Bubble Bubble
I am so excited by how this paper we're working on for Cutter is shaping up (much the same territory as To Lead is to See, to Frame, to Draw, but with a shift in title and shift in emphasis). You knew if you just waited long enough, my need to assert my voice into the silence would again overcome how discouraging the silence is... Right? It wasn't that you could care less... was it?
Well, thanks to Kris, Doug and Peter for the encouragement of mentioning our past Cutter papers in tweets (spread over the course of the several months, so we're in no danger of my ego becoming over-inflated). Anyway, that makes them in my view most discerning gentlemen, and in yours it makes them, well, at least kind.
And this was a nice surprise:
9/8/11 A Revolution in Incubation -- the BOOK!
'We built a culture in which we push ourselves to constantly
rethink products from the ground up. We don't accept received wisdom. We
always ask "What does the market need?" and at the same time "What do we
believe that we're in a position to provide the market?" Which is important,
of course, because we have our own vision and our own values and we always
work from those just as much as what we hear from customers. And lastly, we
ask what are the capabilities today, and how can we take advantage of them.'
A neat example of holding the line on Less is More:
Ok, so Brown inherited a legacy architecture, but at least he is trying to do something to head things in the direction of less governance and more empowerment. Dana calls it "wandering in the desert" when "laws" (or architectural decisions) are made because they seem like a good idea, but there's no compelling strategic reason to take empowerment and responsibility away from individuals.
9/8/11 Org. Charts
Prompted by Peter Bakker, I've started to pull together some resources I'm aware of in the pretendotyping/paper prototyping/duck tape mock-up kind of arena:
If you know of other examples or resources, please let me know so I can add them to this list.
One might argue that Gamestorming (Dave Gray) and Graphic Facilitation a la David Sibbet/The Grove (Visual Meetings and Visual Teams) and our work on sketching, group graphics, and visual modeling all qualify too. :-) Those who've spent any time with this journal will groan when I mention Getting Past ‘But’ (the paper that covers the Art of the Start) again, but please bear in mind that new visitors do on occasion stop by here, and they deserve to know what a treat that paper is, now don't they? ;-)
Dana Bredemeyer introduced into our process (Visual Architecting or VAP) Bucky Fuller's orienting question:
What at this extraordinary moment is the most important thing for me to be thinking about?
At different points in the ebb and flow of strategic management attention, the conception and evolution of our system, the pressures of the economic, organizational, and team seasons, and so on, we will need to pay attention to different concerns, with different tools and different modes of application. Sometimes it will be important to work alone, to concentrate but also to develop an idea without watering it down. Other times we will need to work intensely with others, finding out what we could not alone, making connections and creating something we need help to do. Sometimes it will be important to move fast and sketchy, covering more ideas, connecting ideas, staying unbound so we can explore ideas and options with more freedom. And at other times, we may need to do a very detailed, very careful analysis, and/or dive deep into specification-level models or code. Sometimes we will need to work very tactically, building concrete value, realizing the strategy and responding to emerging opportunity and challenge. And at other times we will need to pay attention to strategy, to the context and shaping forces, to stakeholder aspirations and frustrations, influencing and shaping strategic direction.
The "this extraordinary moment" principle is one of the more powerful principles in the architect's toolkit. It is a discipline of considering the big questions and the small details that all contribute to success, and then strategically allocating attention. Because attention is our scarce resource. We have only one self. Only one unique and uniquely capable me. And with that, only one day at a time's worth of magnifying what can -- needs to -- be done -- done alone, and with and through others.
Aside: The image is an iteration on one I'd drawn before. Why redrawn? I wanted strategy -- big picture thinking -- to be on the left, so associated with the right brain. With tactics being right hand == left brain work. The association isn't strict. Some of our tactical work is holistic thinking. But I want the general thrust to have the right association. Of course, since the brain hemisphere-hand association is flipped, it is something one has to stop and think about. Below the cut line of "this extraordinary moment" thinking? Oh well. Sometimes we just have to have fun. And -- yes, thank you Peter -- sometimes we need to sleep on it. :-)
9/11/11 On the Nature of Play
Isn't it interesting that we call making music playing? Sports too. In either case, play -- real playful play -- can be quite small in contrast to the serious disciplined work of attaining mastery in playing an instrument or a sport. Conversely, in the serious work of work, there are times when we just play -- playfully play -- and that is important to attaining mastery!
Play, goofing about in a group, playfully trying things out, having fun, is important to creating an open mental and physical space where teams bond but also old entrenched ideas are loosed and new ideas can be given a playful shake, given their moment in a more open team mind.
9/11/11 The Future is Here!
Not fully formed, but beyond a mere prototype!
How do you like this:
Shoes with my scrawl on them -- what more could you want??? Archman shoes -- wow!! (I don't have time to actually play with Zazzle's custom Keds design widget right now, but tested it with a couple of images ready to hand.)
How on earth did I stumble on that? Serendipity, by way of the periodic table. I saw some periodic table shoes, thought our resident geek girl (with a birthday not too far off) would go nuts about them, found them on Zazzle but more -- found that on Zazzle you can design what goes on your Keds!!! Ok, so they're pricy. But in a world of buying less, choosing more carefully and making items last longer, items with a personal touch, a medium of personal expression and art or at least aesthetic, are going to be very significant.
You think this is just about shoes. No. This is about mass customization. Really well-conceived and executed. Not just turning options on and off. Mass customization? Why, that takes software. It's everywhere isn't it? It's even bringing shoe design to a computer near your daughter. Ok, so far its just the skin, but with 3-d printing I expect we'll be designing "Crocs" pretty soon too. How can anyone be pessimistic about the economy, and scale back innovation investments, when this is the kind of thing we can do? :-)
And this is about nerds. (Periodic table shoes??) This is significant -- being a nerd is cool among more kids (and not just boys). Even Hello Kitty is showing up as a nerd! Ryan points out that it is a contradiction in terms that nerd should be what's fashionable, but geek girls and women are apt to redefine fashion. Consider Marissa Mayer!)
9/14/11: 3D printers? In metal even! Like this:
When I first scouted Twitter out, I noticed two things: the predominance of consultants (at least in my areas of interest and attentional bias) and so much "horn tooting." That wasn't especially attractive to me. But hanging out on Twitter for a while, I started to notice something deeper and more important. There's a camaraderie, even a "support system" complete with bursts of humor to lighten the mood, that people create using Twitter as a "virtual watercooler" that swirls people into chance conversations with those they have "met" but also with others who they share interests with (often pointing to links where the conversation can go deeper, albeit asynchronously). This is especially important for telecommuters (wait a minute -- what's that called now?) and garage-shop entrepreneurs and consultants. #justsaying. ;-)
"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love" - Carl Sagan
Dana Bredemeyer will be in The Netherlands in mid-November, teaching our Software Architecture Workshop at the Embedded Systems Institute (ESI). He will also be there next week, teaching our Role of the Architect Workshop. Our very first open enrollment architecture workshop outside the USA was in Utrecht (in March 2001, I think; something like that anyway), and we've probably done more workshops in The Netherlands than any other country besides the USA. A number of our field's leaders hail from The Netherlands, not least among them Gerrit Muller. Gerrit's book on Systems Architecting will be out later this month. Gerrit and his family have become treasured friends, and our deep admiration is professional and personal. But it is on a professional basis that I say Gerrit's book is wonderful -- insightful and useful!
9/15/11: Only ONE seat left in the workshop in The Netherlands in November!
Ps. The workshop at Disneyworld in December has seats -- bring
your family! :-) As does the Role workshop in early November. The latter has
some really exciting new modules and I'm so jazzed about it!
9/12/11 What Do the Tea Leaves Say?
Reading comments like those on Tim OReilly's G+ post about a point in Obama's jobs bill, I am struck by the huge negativity out there. I can't help but wonder what Kalev Leetaru's system would see in the data...
I found some cartoons Sara (11) had drawn months ago in the back of my sketch-notebook. Unfortunately she used a gloopy marker, but this will give you a sense of her take on forecasting the future:
Image: By Sara. The first person says "The tarot cards read the same fate..." and the other responds "Those are Christmas greeting cards..."
In another cartoon, one says "My crystal ball says it will snow today." And the other says "Ummm.... that's a snowglobe..."
Seeing a "beware of the dog" sign, Sara was inspired to draw a cartoon of a cat reclining on its back rubbing its very full tummy with a big cat grin, an empty plate beside it, and a sign saying "beware of the dog" but with the dog crossed out and "cat" written above.
I read an essay that claims girls/women have no sense of humor. Ha!
Well, humor is a good antidote to how seriously some people take themselves.
9/13/11: Sometimes, when people, in their arrogance, are unkindly critical, I think of the "dignified" xkcd [which, on the forum, was criticized by those born by c-section for leaving them out ;-) ] and I smile at our ♫shared humanity with all its vanities and foibles.
So long as we are not
laughing cruelly at someone, humor and kindness make the world better.
9/12/11 Sketching in Whole Systems Design
Here's a nice example of using rich pictures to consider the system-of-systems context of the system being designed, and considering the full lifecycle:
Btw, David Sibbet's new book,
Visual Teams, is due out October 11.
Visual Meetings is highly recommended for architects. There's a
lot in it that we can skip over, but it is a reminder that meetings are
for getting work done (including the social part that gives cognizance
to the fact that software is co-created). Not all work, of
course. But important work all the same.
9/12/11 Interesting Misc.
On the importance of vision, via @KrisMeukens:
An interactive, longitudinal view of household architecture -- doesn't it just inspire you to create a book of the evolution of your systems architecture? ;-) Via @DanielStroe (a good friend who has a varied and interesting Twitter stream):
This sure looks interesting, bearing in mind that there is opportunity in alleviating frustration and delivering delight:
9/12/11 Holding in Mind
Paul Graham's advice to "keep rewriting your programs" has a similar ring to Dan North's point in the talk where he first put his ideas for deliberate discovery forward. :-) [If you didn't catch that talk... I'll have to dig through notes to find the reference. Oh, remember you can always Google "dan north site:ruthmalan.com" -- why, there it is in on the first search return: ☼Deliberate Discovery]
Paul's advice in point 7 runs counter to frequent agile practice where user stories rather than components are the unit of individual assignment. However we slice it, architecture is about performing the magic that allows the system to fit in our heads. It is more than a matter of "way finding" and "sense making," also including ways to allocate individual responsibility to "head-sized chunks" while ensuring that these chunks interact with other chunks to produce the concert of system capabilities and meet desired performance levels, on the one hand, and achieve structural integrity, on the other.
9/13/11 Keeping the Brain in Mind
9/13/11 Money Talks to Government
"With so much at stake, Google spent more than $2 million to lobby Congress just in the first quarter of this year."
Facebook on D.C. hot seat over kids' privacy, Nancy Cordes,
September 14, 2011|
This on a mailing list sign-up on the Bredemeyer site:
"Thanks for providing the best and the most exhaustive information on software architecture, architect role. I discovered it late, nevertheless, found when highly needed."
9/14/11 An Emergent post on Peter's Emergent Post
On my "what's left after work and being mom" plate right now is a chapter for a book on systems architecting. It is a spin on strategy and architecture in tandem, and fractal and emergent, and that space of concerns that was covered in The Art of Change: Fractal and Emergent -- so if you have questions and suggestions and experiences and ideas, please do let me know.
Note: The Art of Change: Fractal and Emergent presents strategy (and tandem architecture) as intent that is fractally transmitted and interpreted and emergent.
9/15/11: From the discussion in the comments, I wonder if the concept of enterprise backbone, as Peter articulates it, is richer than the relationship platform (which itself is richer than merely infrastructure). Now my mind is probing a new question: Organizational culture, including identity and shared values, is a good part of what binds the various "pods" or teams and groups in an enterprise. But culture permeates the pods and isn't separate from them. So how does culture relate to the backbone?
It is an interesting metaphor to explore! And it is neat that Peter is using an 'adaptive and emergent" mode to explore it. It was kind of Peter to mention my Trace as a source of inspiration for the living, evolving format.
Many people think it takes away something to give credit. But any thinking person knows that there is a gaping distance between an idea and the many ideas it takes to make something your own. And that is what we all do. We take all these bits and pieces of inspiration and connect them and make something distinctly new. Something imbued with our unique point of view. So it was gallant and warm spirited to be grateful, and diminishes not at all. Quite the contrary. Indeed, I read today that gratitude is an essential element of character.
Character: gratitude, grit, curiosity, empathy and kindness. And courage -- the courage to trust your own judgment even when it is not the commonly held view.
(Of course, judgment is a loaded term when we recognize the perceptual trickery our minds get up to. Even so, when we have a developed and tested sense of something it takes courage to advocate our convictions when they are at odds with the dominant view. Still, there'd be no change, no advances, if we all kowtowed to the dominant view. Remember the distinct vein of sneering reaction to the iPad at launch? Yeah.)
9/16/11: Peter addressed my question in his evolving Enterprise Backbone exploration. Wahoo!!!! I've been quoted! Hear ye, hear ye! I've been quoted! You know, I think this could well be the first time I've been quoted! (Occasionally what I've written on the Bredemeyer site has been quoted, but I'm not credited and to be fair it is not always obvious that I am the source.) Ok, excitement abates. I was only quoted to answer my own question. Oh well.
Back to Peter's answer. Indeed the relationship platform should "enable not just connectivity but highly dynamic synergy." That is what the relationship platform is for. So we're still asking if/how the concept of enterprise backbone differs from the concept of relationship platform. Enterprise architecture goes further in enabling that synergy than the relationship platform, the latter being a capability (but a systemic one). (Some people get thrown by the platform word, but I'm using it in the sense of enabler, in this case for relationships -- relationships being the source of synergy.)
This is a good discussion to have, because the relationship platform notion is what I was saying is where a BIG contribution is to be made by business technology (working with the business), and why BT (or IT) will continue to have a highly strategic contribution -- especially as organizations become more organic/less mechanistic and rely more on fluidly "reprogramming" the organizational brain wiring as it adapts (giving rise to emergence) to environment change and opportunity or threat (which may be recast as opportunity).
9/18/11: Peter pointed to these references on plasticity:
Indeed, the relationship platform should enable "plasticity" -- or the dynamic configuration and reconfiguration of relationship networks.
Peter's work on the enterprise backbone architecture is really taking shape and quite interesting.
(Quite -- in the American sense, meaning very.)
9/19/11: I think that -- sort of by accident (as is so often the case) -- a big outcome of Peter's enterprise backbone architecture post is the invention of a new hybrid -- the "emergent blog post: learning and improving through community interaction and iterative and incremental development." :-)
The relationship platform has to change not in technical terms, in this case, but in terms of the social norms to allow this invention to work. The traditional expectation for blogs that emerged early was that a blog would remain stable as posted, so that commentary on the blog and across the blogosphere would have a stable post to react to. Any modifications had to be clearly marked, generally in an addendum, etc. An emergent post requires a change in expectation set and normative behavior -- no dinging Peter for editing, changing, extending his post. So, unwittingly, Peter has demonstrated the interaction between the technical elements of the relationship platform and the cultural and social elements. ;-) [I'm not suggesting that social networks == relationship platform but only that social networks are part of it.]
Well, I have been doing my own version of this in my Trace for a long time -- see "conversations" with Charlie Alfred early on. The comment feature on my blog was barely used and the spam burden far, far, far outweighed the (potential but not in fact used) benefits, so I haven't added a comment feature to my journal. And I do know that some people regard their blog posts as fairly mutable. The point, though, is that what Peter has done with that particular post is a nice original twist. (Sure, I suppose it is possible that others use the same hybrid approach, but it is independently derived.)
All of which does not mean Peter's post is messy (Peter's characterization, not mine)! :-) [My journal on the other hand.... ;-)] I just mean it is growing and evolving, keenly tended and shaped. And it demonstrates something I am excited about -- the emergent blog post that evolves and reshapes based on learning and input. Instead of having all the learning and clarifying be in the comments, the post itself is sculpted over time. The person commenting can see the effect they had. A new person just encountering the post gets the benefit of the latest state of Peter's thinking on the topic, as he has added to it (incremental) and responded to feedback (iterative). And because it is responsive to feedback, Peter couldn't have created what he will end up with on his own -- it has emerged out of the interactions of his thinking with other's questions, comments and ideas. No-one else could have done it -- it is distinctly Peter's. But as Peter absorbs ideas and responds to feedback, it is no less Peter's but it is also more. All round, I think it is goodness. It is, I think, something worth emulating/repeating/doing.
9/20/11: I guess, if I think about it, it's like a wiki page in its evolutionary nature, but different, in that Peter maintains content control and the conversation is on the same page, so the community contribution and alternative ideas are presented along with Peter's evolving post.
Whenever somebody does something kind, the question of self-interest lurks nearby. This RSA video (by way of Maria Popova) of Oren Harmen on The Price of Altruism is wonderful! Oren Harmen is captivating. The description of the amoeba is interesting for organic organization example collectors. Harmen weaves a narrative that surveys and positions an interesting scientific exploration and contribution and a human story. The human story culminates in Price's experiment:to determine whether there is such a thing as kindness that goes beyond what evolution predisposes us to.
"Biology is not destiny — it’s capacity. Clearly, the evolutionary process has given us the capacity for empathy and for altruism..." -- Oren Harmen
I need to watch Ramachandran's TED talk on mirror neurons. There's also the RSA Animate video with Jeremy Rifkin titled The Empathic Civilisation which I have seen. We have a cat that is mute, and it meows just a whisper -- and we whisper when we talk back to it. Dana got laryngitis and lost his voice completely while working at a client site and had to ask at the pharmacy for something by writing it down. The person who helped him wanted to write the answer down on his piece of paper! The instinct to mirror is so strong!
One of the key tools in the "influencing" toolkit is reciprocity. We might want to put kindness in our tool belt so we keep it ready to hand. But kindness grows on empathy, so that is good to exercise. Kindness? Can one take that to work? Well, you can reframe it, if you prefer. But it means the state of being concerned for others. Still, call it attending to another person -- you know, like really listening to a stakeholder's concerns like they matter. That sort of thing. Kindness, attention, caring, empathy, all these go into creating meaningful systems. And into relating to people we work with in meaningful ways. Into brokering win-win solutions for architectural stakeholders. Etc.
This is interesting:
'most of Shakespeare's opus could be considered a study of human kindness'. -- quoted in wikipedia
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the same could be said of us? That our products are great because they are created out of deep concern for the people who make and use them?
As altruism and tech peeps go, IndyJug will be holding its second annual "Give Camp" on October 14 - 16. Last year at Indy's first "Give Camp," 70 local developers, designers, and dbas got together to work on tech projects for local non profits.
9/17/11: I watched Sasha Dichter's talk, alerted because it was trending on TED's "best of the web" but also because the "generosity experiment" title dovetailed with this "kindness" post. Among the striking things that Sasha says:
"I was hiding behind doing
what was smart, and it was keeping me from doing what was right."
"If I want the world to be more open, and more action oriented
and more generous, then I have to be more open, and more action oriented and
"If I want the world to be more open, and more action oriented and more generous, then I have to be more open, and more action oriented and more generous."
This from the comments:
"Sasha, thank you for this talk. I feel that you and Ms Novogratz are reimagining the world for us. And I agree completely that these things we do are foremost about ourselves because we become what we practice being, and I at least can always benefit by practicing being a better person." -- Kevin Parcell
That is a powerful orientation. Being generous in the way Sasha describes is practicing not being cynical. To be cynical is not just a loss of our own hope and positive expectation, but it projects cynicism to nibble and fester at other people's hope. Practicing a generous interpretation of other people's desires and motives is to practice hope and practice seeing the good; it is acting empathetic and concerned.
And it is hard. We have a particular street corner where people always stand and ask for money, then, at least in some cases, when they have collected enough drive off! We were witness to this once, and have heard it from others. I tell my kids that with the strong ethic of self-sufficiency in the US, a person who begs is in a desperate state either because they have lost the means to support their family or because they have lost the self-esteem that would keep them from abusing trust and generosity. Either way, they need the touch of kindness. And even with that recognition in mind, it is hard to just be kind, knowing that the potential is there that as soon as I move on, the recipient is sneering at me for being a bleeding heart fool. But that last is my problem -- it is my overlay on what is going on. So I like Sasha's spin, turning it around so that it is about ourselves, our own capacity for openness, action and generosity -- our own capacity to transcend cynicism, to be empathetic, and to have generous interpretations of what is happening.
Now, this is very much about giving and philanthropy, but it also has distinct bearing on product and system development. When we set out to "make people's lives more the way they want them to be" we can be doing this to distinguish our products and business or to work towards improving the lot of those in poverty.
9/15/11 Art on the Mind
I'm an hour into V.S. Ramachandran's presentation titled 40/40 Vision Lecture: Neurology and the Passion for Art and enjoying it a lot. But it's late so I'll catch the rest another day. (I skipped the first 16 minutes or so because it is the same as his other TED talk.) V. S. Ramachandran is the author of The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human
Does art just titillate in the way that sexy cars do?
9/19/11: I found this interesting:
And since that took us to designers, there's this:
I went purposefully "retro" with ☼Picture It, and I agree that hand-sketching is much more important than our tool-oriented tech world tends to give credit to. And I suspect the fact that there were tools for OOA/D and then UML helped build a wave of adoption of modeling but with the hype needed to drive adoption there was also that "silver-bullet-bandwagon jumping" with its excess of zeal (earning the "too literally" quip) that then soured with disappointment -- the typical trajectory of the hype curve. So UML and related tools had their day in the shadow so cast, and now we're back to a new wave -- this time in the guise of MDE (and related acronyms). But of course I also think that (software) tools are important, and Peter has pointed to the tools used in building architecture (largely driven by Frank Gehry, who brought aero modeling tools into building design and then pushed the tools further) that are analogous. I think it is largely a distinction between conceptual and logical (architectural) design, and it is why we have stuck with our VAP decision model in preference to the Kruchten 4+1 model. (We pull "requirements" and architecture drivers into a separate area of concern from the architecture decision model, and explicitly cover not just system capabilities or functional requirements and use cases or user stories but also system properties or non-functional requirements.) Anyway, a pencil (or markers for team working sessions) is a great tool for conceptual design, especially in early explorations. Once we get into logical design, we may well want the tool convenience of being able to update the evolving design ideas particularly as they transition into specifications. (Whether we need specification level detail with depend on organizational complexity.)
As for whiteboards, this struck an agile chord:
"When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark."
-- Paul Tough, What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?, NYT Magazine, 9/14/2011
Which is to say, many agile teams have really taken to heart the design of the team workspace.
9/19/11: Patrick's StormBox post has neat tips.
9/16/11 Neuroscience Goes Home?
V.S. Ramachandran says that this is going to be known as the age of neuroscience. And now this -- we can all become neuroscience hobbyists exploring our own brain at home:
Don't you just love the scrollover on today's xkcd?
(A stud finder is a way to find hidden structural detail -- framing posts -- without opening up a wall.)
9/17/11 Visual Treasure
I stumbled on Amanda Lyons "Visuals for Change" blog and it is a wonderful resource -- her striking by-line is telling: "Reflections as a listener. Observations as a seer. AND visual thoughts."
Sketchnote Army, curated by Mike Rohde and Binaebi Akah is a neat source of examples of sketchnotes.
9/18/11 API Design
9/22/11: Also related:
9/19/11 Trojan Mice
This is a neat story to add to the "one block mall" show-value-early set:
Create the vision, but take small steps that deliver early value to build support and pull for the vision.
We tell a version of that one block mall Jaime Lerner story in the EA as Strategic Differentiator paper, pages 20-21.
"Been an Enterprise Architect for The Hartford for the last ten years and have numerous stories on what works and what doesn't. The challenge in answering your question really boils down to human dynamics. I can say that approaches to EA do need to vary depending on business climate, the personalities of the executive leadership team and skillsets of IT in general."
Human dynamics! We have a workshop for that! :-)
An "alum" of our workshop wrote this in a recommendation to his architect community:
"Consider this class [...] if you are interested in developing the leadership part of your role. EA leaders need the role courage and systems thinking this class explores."
I really liked that "role courage" and will be using it! For example, the architect initiates and facilitates dialog across various organizational boundaries to explore opportunity and define/evolve the system. This can take traditionalist stovepipe protectors by surprise, and "courage" so aptly captures what it takes to make the transition to empowering oneself to invite and enter these strategic conversations!
The Architectural Leadership and Other Skills Workshop explores the organizational realities and leadership challenges that architects face. It focuses on influencing skills, communication and "selling" in architecture initiatives, strategic and business thinking enabling connected dots from business intent to technical decisions, the architect's role in providing strategic technology intelligence, decision making and action,…, as well as systems, architectural, and visual thinking skills that are core to the architect role.
One of the mantras of Agile is deferring decisions until we know, until we have better information. This is insightful:
Philippe Kruchten famously said:
"The life of a software
architect is a long and rapid succession of suboptimal design decisions taken
partly in the dark."
-- Philippe Kruchten, "The Architects -- The Software
Architecture Team," Proceedings of the First Working IFIP Conference on Software
Architecture (WICSA1). Kluwer Academic Publishing 1999
-- Philippe Kruchten, "The Architects -- The Software Architecture Team," Proceedings of the First Working IFIP Conference on Software Architecture (WICSA1). Kluwer Academic Publishing 1999
Decision making under uncertainty takes courage. We have to watch for our cognitive biases, but not to the point of being unable to act. Decisions, after all, make the future more predictable. Not predictable, but more. Because we start to shape what the future will be, by creating it.
So, yes, we have a workshop for that -- for identifying how human dynamics can unravel the best of technical "solutions," and exploring the human dynamics of effective architectural leadership, and building related skills. Where 'architectural leadership" is a double entendre, meaning leading in the market through architectural leadership that confers strategic advantage, and leading within the organization to create great systems that differentiate the business.
9/21/11: And, yes, the courage to present our half-baked, ill-formed ideas so we can engage others and make something all the greater for their ideas and their active, enrolled and empowered participation. [Naturally I had to say that, so you'll be kind to me for sharing my scrawl and "archman as the lion in the Wizard of Oz" proto-type sketch. ;-) Um... even I have trouble reading some of the bullet points like "to step into the gap others leave" and "advocate structural integrity when schedule shouts"... Ok, but since it is half-baked, do please share the ways you see the architect needing to step outside her/his comfort zone and/or be courageous. I say "comfort zone" there because some of our acts of courage have more to do with our perception of danger or obstacle or our self-image or our willingness to reach beyond our perceived organizational allowance... than a real organizational or career threat... because, like the lion, we find we do have courage -- courage comes with caring, with passion, with knowing what must be done for others.]
9/22/11: The courage to use art? Well, consider these sage words:
“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” — Leonardo da Vinci
Why is Leonardo so important a voice now? Well, this is a new Renaissance, a time that demands its renaissance thinking -- making connections across fields of deep expertise to innovate, pushing the frontiers of science and technology. Yes. But often working in advance of both, working with the artist's tools of keen observation and sense making to make surprising leaps, and to bring (technical and organizational) complexity to sufficient intellectual obeisance that we can realize our innovative ideas.
9/27/11: And its not just (other) architects -- CEOs Need Courage, Jeffrey Pfeffer, September 27, 2011:
"CEOs not only need a
new set of beliefs, they need the courage of their convictions to act on
those beliefs." -- Jeffrey Pfeffer
9/20/11 Speaking of Bold
Strategically and architecturally a business has to move despite uncertainty -- giant hairballs of complexity with uncertainty intertwined throughout! We gave up on Netflix because they never had the movie we wanted to see, and we don't want their on demand inventory to constrain what we see when life has so few minutes in it! That left room for Amazon instant video to sneak in and take over the lead in our family movie spend. That said, Amazon's selection leaves a lot to be desired... Interesting times ahead for all the digital distribution channels, movies not least among them.
Anyway, the hairball roadmap sketch is a neat (albeit playfully rendered) example of a what is important to capture on a technology roadmap, identifying key landscape shaping forces (or "pivots" in Adam Richardson's terminology).
I like it!
9/22/11: See also: Hassle Maps: The Genesis Of Demand, Adrian Slywotzky, Sep 21, 2011
9/20/11 Animate turns out to be Social
Ackoff's model is thought provoking. Of course I am familiar
with Ackoff's definition of system, having read various of his books and papers.
But I hadn't read the "On the mismatch between systems and their models" paper.
Thanks for the pointer Kris!
Google's flight search interface sure is neat! Bringing impulse travel purchases to a computer near you?
9/21/11 Fire the Board?
Perhaps the HP's board might like to begin by firing itself? It has seen HP through an incredibly tumultuous set of short succession CEOs.
9/22/11: Now will you get around to paying attention to me -- see
9/22 PM: And now -- good grief!
What does Meg Whitman know about a computing company -- a company that has its roots deep in technology products? HP employees deserve better than to be jerked around by a board that is too busy being...
Oh, well, now HP can auction off its PC business.
The world needs great products -- truly great, well-engineered, solving-real-problems PRODUCTS. I'm not knocking services. I'm in that business. But HP needs a CEO that can lead an innovative engineering company. That is what HP is. That is what Bill and Dave built. Carly tried to get rid of all the Bill and Dave DNA by shedding that culture, sloughing off the generation who qualified for early retirement. But culture runs deep. In an age when Steve Jobs has proved to the world that product companies can be great, it is unfathomable that the board is selecting CEOs who don't understand computing and product -- computing product -- innovation. Tablets? Goodness gracious, there is still plenty of room to innovate there. Insist on innovation. Insist on design excellence. Get the CEO to read and internalize The HP Way -- and have HP employees select their CEO. The board has certainly not proved itself capable!
9/26/11: Not sure if Meg Whitman would agree: "Shareholders benefit most when CEOs and boards maximize value for society and act as agents of society rather than shareholders." -- CEOs Need a New Set of Beliefs , Raymond V. Gilmartin
HP Co. CEO
will get a severance payment of US$7.2 million, plus a $2.4 million performance
bonus and additional stock benefits, according to documents filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday." --
Former HP CEO Apotheker to get more than US$9.6M, Nancy Gohring, 30 Sep 2011
10/3/11: The trouble with superheroes HP has appointed yet another superstar boss from outside. Bad move, The Economist, Oct 1st 2011
The Greatest Threat to Steve Jobs's Legacy,
Michael Schrage, October 27, 2011
9/21/11 Leonard Cohen -- Throw Away the Good to get to Great
Last night Sara figured out how to play Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and she and Ryan sang it for me, knowing I so love it (and sweetly seeking to soothe my too-busy-ragged spirit). Singing it again tonight, they had me going back to Leonard Cohen's music, listening to Jeff Buckley's and then ♫KD Lang's cover of Hallelujah, and moving through a number of my favorite Cohen songs. Then I stumbled on this tribute, discovering that it is Leonard Cohen's 77th birthday today! Serendipity has an uncanny sense of timing. :-)
"You've got to write down what you're going to abandon, you've got to see how it works and then throw it away."
Because the good idea you have now, obscures and restricts us from reaching the great idea behind it. In innovation, it is the (early) follower who has that advantage, because we don't like to throw product ideas away -- until the market makes us do so. It takes discipline and courage to reach beyond good enough for that "ding"-setting great!
Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing is so moving. I am personally grateful for Leonard Cohen's gifts to our world.
And, while sorry to see R.E.M. split up, I found their parting words striking:
"One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. ... Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift..." -- Peter
"We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It's been amazing." -- Michael
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." -- R.E.M.
A common theme of gratitude to their fans -- a recognition that being invited into the mindspace of their fans was a gift they received even as they gave.
It is a good discipline to think about what we are grateful for,
and to whom. We don't stand alone, nor accomplish alone. Not Steve Jobs. Not
Einstein. Not anyone. Gratitude is a powerful way to recognize our connections
and practice humility.
9/22/11 Tell Me
Tom Graves post titled Dependency and resilience in enterprise-architecture models is stand-alone well worth reading for the points it makes about system modeling, but it also continues to push his meta-model work in a good, right direction. The conclusion is interesting:
Hence for any given entity, it would be meaningful to ask directly each of Graeme’s questions:
“tell me about yourself” typically identifies the immediate content of the item [and in this metamodel, also the content of any items within the scope of its related-items list]
“tell me what you’re associated with” identifies the immediate (‘distance-1′) relations in which the item is referenced
“…and why” identifies the reasons given within those ‘distance-1′ relations
-- Tom Graves, Dependency and resilience in enterprise-architecture models, 9/22/11
9/22/11 Sir Ken on (Education and) Art, Creativity and Divergent Thinking
Sir Ken's "Schools Kill Creativity" RSA animated talk is largely about education, but it is worth listening/watching for there are points of relevance to us (wearing our architect hats) too -- schools are not the only organizations challenged to transform themselves from their fit to the industrial era to being adapted to a more complex and fast-paced highly interconnected, collaborative innovation era. So, interesting points, like these:
9/22/11 Technology Roadmapping
I'd be very interested to hear how you're doing technology roadmapping. I'm updating what we do, so I'd love to get your take on it, what you do and find useful, your experiences good and bad -- what you think roadmapping is for! ;-) And so forth.
Part of the process is painting pictures of what will be true say 5 and 10 years out. This FB announcement today gives me even more of a sense that we have a time discontinuity that has brought the future into the present way too fast and we just don't know how to cope with the all the simultaneous genies we're letting out of the bottle! Its really exciting. But also scary -- like, it is scary seeing who follows my kids on Youtube... But it is important to consider what has already come into view, though not widespread, that is writing on the wall for the old way of doing things. Lessons like this apply:
"But Steve wasn't willing to play that game. Steve wasn't going to use the past to shape the future. At the time, even though the World Wide Web was just coming into its own, it was easy to see that online commerce would allow a more direct relationship between brands and their customers. Every tech company knew this change was coming but few were bold enough to embrace change. Some still haven't.
There are plenty of examples of companies who've used the past to determine in the future. Both Blockbuster and Borders relied heavily on brick-and-mortar stores when they knew they were being disrupted by click rivals. Nokia and RIM missed the smartphone application market by a mile. GM ignored the move to more efficient cars for nearly 10 years. Most of the publishing industry continues to think of its product as 90,000-word printed things, when it's clear that nuggets of sharable information make most sense for spreading ideas. These businesses seem committed to doing what they already know, and despite Roger Martin's guidance that you can't analyze your way to growth, companies continue to think of growth creation using the rearview mirror."
-- Nilofer Merchant, What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Growth, September 22, 2011 by
As technology roadmapping goes... I suppose IBM Rational has this on its technology map/radar:
So, does Intel have its sights set on being the smarter "smarter planet" company?
9/28/11: Sci-fi-humorist roadmap.
9/29/11: This is interesting:
It calls to mind
9/22/11 Starring Archman
Archman decided to wander into the stickman world, and slew that software dragon! You don't believe me? See here:
(Thanks very much @DanNorth! I'd like my evening back now, thank you.)
Images from: drawastickman.com
Well, clearly, my work here is done.
This article packs a seismic message:
I'd read hints at Amazon's treatment of workers in comments to Bezos' graduation address, for example. But they weren't substantiated and I shrugged them off.
"It is becoming a country in which people more than disagree. They fail to see each other. They think in types about others, and assume the worst of types not their own." -- Anand Giridharadas
It is the rare person who escapes falling prey to casting diminishing expectations upon others.
Fortunately, though, we can affect our own conceptions. We're fallible. And the world is complex and full of contradictory forces. So, we have more scope to learn from our mistakes. Hey, whatever else it is, it's not boring!
I thought this was interesting: Are You Building The Right Product? Eric Ries, September 11th, 2011
And is IBM patenting to prevent or to perpetrate: IBM Seeks Patent On Retailer-Rigged Driving Routes, 9/24/11
Sara tells me that Simon (I think) of The Yogscast declared that a cup is half full when you're pouring, and half empty when you're drinking. Context and perspective, rather than optimism/pessimism, determine where it is half full or half empty. That's a nice dynamic twist. Optimists anyone?
Then there's luck, or bad luck, as the case may be: Scott of the Antarctic: the lies that doomed his race to the pole, Robin McKie, 9/24/11
9/29/11: See also: Amazon, the Company That Ate the World, Brad Stone, September 28, 2011
In response to @SimonBrown's request, I offered a pointer to my blogroll (right column) because it lists a mighty fine set of bloggers in the space and hopefully Simon will find it helpful.
If I missed your blog please do let me know! I realize that being listed in my blogroll is not going to send much if any traffic your way -- this is a quiet backwaters place, as the i-way goes. Clearly my style does not appeal to the taste of many, and of those that it might work for, my excess of words is an effective roadblock. Still, I'd like to hear from you, to include your blog in the various blogrolls I maintain.
9/26/11 (What) Should Architecture Shout?
General frameworks* enable us to work at a "higher level of abstraction" -- that is, frameworks present abstractions our system leverages so that we avoid having to build common infrastructural system services or general system capabilities (such as logging, persistence, remoting, messaging, authentication and such). Hence, the choice of framework(s) is architecturally significant. And frameworks may restrict the language, shape, and "articulation points" of abstractions we will create, so they influence the architectural style.
That said, the Conceptual Architecture for an accounting system should feature abstractions shaped by what an accounting system must accomplish. Of course. I suspect that the fact that Uncle Bob has to point this out has something to do with the tendency to say "architecture is a set of decisions" which then prompts "which decisions?" and the answering "the architecturally significant ones" which leads us to architectures which "shout" "Spring & Hibernate." Which is a problem. A defining facet of architecture has to do with how we shape the system, which abstractions we delineate with roles and associated responsibility assignments, and this has much to do with the domain. Indeed this shaping -- this identifying entities, molding them and designing their interactions with one another to achieve not just the system capabilities but with desired properties -- is done in crucial interplay with use cases. So I do heartily agree that there are central views of the architecture of an accounting app that should "scream" (if you like) accounting, but Spring and Hibernate may well feature in the architecture decision set where the team keeps track of formative technology choices and their rationale, connecting the dots to strategic technical or business intent, and identifying which alternatives were considered and why they were not chosen.
* As distinct from frameworks built to support a product line/family. The latter do have domain-specific components that are common to the product line/family.
9/26/11 Brogramming Anyone?
9/26/11 Third Industrial Revolution
"In the mid-1990s, it dawned on me that a new convergence of communication and energy was in the offing. Internet technology and renewable energies were about to merge to create a powerful new infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) that would change the world. In the coming era, hundreds of millions of people will produce their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories and share it with each other in an "energy Internet," just like we now create and share information online. The democratization of energy will bring with it a fundamental reordering of human relationships, impacting the very way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life.
The Third Industrial
Revolution is the last of the great Industrial Revolutions and will lay the
foundational infrastructure for an emerging collaborative age. The forty
year build-out of the TIR infrastructure will create hundreds of thousands
of new businesses and hundreds of millions of new jobs."
-- Jeremy Rifkin,
The Third Industrial Revolution: Toward A New Economic Paradigm, 9/25/11
-- Jeremy Rifkin, The Third Industrial Revolution: Toward A New Economic Paradigm, 9/25/11
(via Tom Graves)
9/26/11 Birds Learn to Build
New study? Hmpf! See Animals Are Beautiful People (1974) -- there is a sequence on architectural styles early, and later on there's another sequence on weaver birds and it is quite clear that the first timer is not proficient and has to learn by doing. There's strict testing too. It is a delightful film -- nature documentary set as comedy (with animals ostensibly in their natural state although some have disputed the authenticity of the drunk elephant scene).
Of course, we take multi-pronged strategy here. For example, there is the "stakes in the ground" notion of positing and trying things out -- the cheapest way possible. There's the "what at this incredible moment" principle. And others.
As for such principles and heuristics -- you're going to love our next Cutter report. I think. ...I hope... maybe... ;-)
So... Facebook snapped up Kent Beck...??
9/27/11 Connected World
Great addition to the metaphors we use to understand and articulate the role of the enterprise architect:
Investment advisor, a kaumatua or statesman. Others?
Several months ago, Sara decided archman needed a more whole-some image, and drew this in my sketchnote book:
Image source: Sara
I came across Sara's image (and her cartoons shown earlier this month), when I was scanning back across one of my sketchnote journals (I do a lot less paper-based note taking, but in meetings and noodling I still like to use paper). This, from the same journal, was my musing related to an Architectural Leadership workshop design and the role we play in our own personal "maker movement" in which we craft our own self, and our span of capabilities and actionable insight:
This is from another page, explores how the system takes shape, and how that shape becomes rigidly bound not just in system coupling terms in the usual sense, but in terms of the coupling to (or cast of) expectations and external systems, and so forth:
Notes linking the fractal and recursive ideas (this time in process terms) and the "To Lead is to See, to Frame, to Draw" ideas:
If you can't read my writing, oops. Sorry.
9/28/11 (Filling) The Leadership Deficit
'It's time to get not just serious, but maybe even a little bit radical. This isn't a drill, but a nine-alarm fire. But where are the fire engines? Washington's bogged down in games of brinksmanship instead of practicing the art of leadership. Hell-bent on running each other into the ground — instead of running the nation — America's so-called leaders are sending us into what wonks are calling a "policy-induced recession."'
-- Umair Haque, Is America Giving Up on the Future? September 28, 2011
Umair Haque concludes:
"Not giving up on the future requires the furious pursuit of living more meaningfully well in the present."
Here's someone who shows us how:
I've pointed to Cory Booker in the past, so if you've seen this pointer bear with me -- on occasion someone new to this Trace might read this far -- and this is one of the most valuable pointers I can give:
Valuable? Sure, it's an inspiring human story. But it is also a really powerfully articulated set of lessons in leadership. It is a better-than-any-"textbook" vibrantly laid out guide to the qualities and actions of a leader. It you're signed up to the "architect maker movement", I highly recommend it!
9/28/11 The Maker Movement (ought to be something of a Breaker Movement?)
As maker movements go, I get seriously told to "back off; don't micromanage my time" by my kids when I say things like "we make our minds great by pouring great minds into them" ... but not when I said "the best way to learn is to break things." (I wonder why?) But if I wasn't "born to teach," I was somehow made to teach -- myself, for the most part. If you get a bit of spill-over effect along the way, that's because you were made to teach -- yourself, primarily. And so it goes. :-)
Ah yes, when I told Ryan that breaking things wasn't just reframing into the positive what we learn in the path of accident but something we could intentionally set out to do, he just lit up. And set about creating a creeper (our teen and tween are seriously into Minecraft) out of cardboard and making a movie of blowing it up with firecrackers. He evolved his design, because he wanted to blow the head off rather than blow the entire thing up. I'm not concerned about this special effects stuff for a movie (the kid is singing Bob Dylan social consciousness ♫songs from the 60's). Still, I was more thinking about taking things apart, though downright breaking them is important too. Probing to see how they fail teaches us a lot about how they work. Somehow toddlers know this, but we forget it as we become 'civilized" and conform to propriety and norms.
Right on cue:
Hey, it wasn't me! ;-) And probably (wink) they didn't break it on purpose, but I'm sure they'll learn from it!
Now how easy would it be to break the Sydney rail system... uncomfortably illuminating story...
9/29/11: Here's a neat follow-on to the above post:
And this is a great follow-on to that:
9/28/11 Computing by Classicists!
This is a wonderful story and a reminder that inventions in the software intensive and technology arena are not the exclusive dominion of computer scientists and engineers:
This from a comment on the post:
"you never know what will inspire who to create something amazing!"
Pete Cripps post on 5 Architectures that Changed the World is interesting. I sure do like thought-provoking questions like the one Pete asked!! It's a great list!
9/29/11: As architectures go, what we hear of Silk is interesting! And Pete added Watson as a "stay tuned" addendum.
9/29/11 Sustainability Out Loud
What leaders commit to and talk about gets done, so it's good to see these sustainability objectives in effect being put into the public conversation: Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan Targets. They have also put their creation of a climate change roadmap (my term) out there too, and are inviting help in identifying what to do.
9/29/11 Kind Words Make the World Nicer!
Someone I much admire emailed to say (of The Art of Change):
"That's a great paper!"
That was a very nice thing to do!
I so enjoy Tim O'Reilly's point of view (expressed in what he directs our attention at, as well as in what he says and writes -- like this: Birth of the global mind). So I was very interested to stumble on this:
Back in January I wrote:
"People have a tremendous impact on us. We think we are so distinctly ourselves, and yet there is such a parade of minds whose thinking (and testing, proving, building in the world) gets woven into us in ways we don't even recognize, could often not trace."
I'm happy that Tim kept track, and shared his reckoning of some of the works he "incorporated into who [he is]" -- his own "mind-maker movement" where he crafted his mind and distinctive point of view.
(Point of view? To me, a PoV is: where he sees from, what he (seeks out and) looks at, and what he stands for.)
(Mind-maker movement -- what, we can't rebrand self-crafted education too? Hmpf! ;-)
9/30/11: Parade of minds -- ah, yes, that reference comes from my Thanksgiving post last year:
... Socrates. Vitruvius. Da Vinci. ..., Shakespeare, von Neuman, Feynman, ... Rechtin, ... Heaney... I shudder to attempt even another name on the list of influences on our thinking, for it is endless... Indeed, I can't find a beginning nor a middle nor an end to it, and your name should be prominent on it! Such a network of minds that leads to the unique set of knowledge and connections that make our own internal mental maps and inner constructions, uniquely orienting us to the world! So the river of humanity, of what it is to be human, flows between and through us, not simply by. We interact with history, community, destiny, and each with us. But our friends are prominent in that parade of minds that influence and make us, for they share with us what their own bliss-following questing-growing has produced in them, and their sparkle brightness casts light for us in which we see and become more our best selves. At times like these, I remember Yeats striking words:
"Think where mans glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends."
In addition to bringing insights to our encounter, when we read we have the opportunity to "walk two moons in another's moccasins." In my sketchnote snippet on the right, I mention the Wright Brothers -- remember this xkcd?
I came across Tim O'Reilly's Books That Shaped post looking for the context for this quote:
"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think." -- Edwin Schlossberg
I didn't find the context, because I so liked what I did find and forgot my reason for searching! Serendipity is a mysterious creature! ;-)
Anyway, I liked that quote because I think it captures very well what architecture is about. I also liked::
"...anything that is art… is presumably about some certain thing, but is really always about something else" -- Edward Gorey as quoted by Maria Popova
I like that too -- as an expression of art surely, but also of architecture. It's not just the abstractions, it's the meaning making -- for the technical design, yes, but also the meaning that is being built partly by aspiration (larger than purposive intent) and partly by emergence from the interactions with the larger value systems our system will be part of.
Dana shared a model (of a leader) he's working on with me, and one dimension is flexibility, and an attribute of flexibility is openness to influence. People of character and a considered point of view are not windsocks, changing direction with the wind. But if they are not open to influence they are rigid and static. They devolve into dogmatic positions that they can only attempt to impose autocratically. The flexible leader creates a space for others to contribute. That space draws the active engagement of minds in the creation of meaning because the leader is able to transmit enough of a conception of the compelling thing that must be done to make something new and wonderful in a world that needs it. Enough to enroll engagement of active thinking creating minds.
9/29/11 Assorted Brain Treats
So, a new (pop) characterization for my Trace emerges -- this is my own personal "maker" space, where what I am building through exploration, discovery and experimentation is myself, my point of view on architecture. Seen that way, it kind of argues for not making it public, doesn't it? I mean, ewwww!!!
The learning lab/playground of a curious mind is... messy!
Aside: My sketches preceded my encounter (5 months ago) with Dave Gray's illustration, so they were "independently derived" from the (un)common influence soup we draw our unique and distinctive mixes from. At any rate, my attempt prepared me to very much appreciate Dave's version, which I suggested he include also in his Connected Company set -- and he did! Of course Gamestorming has had its influence on my work, so when I stumbled on Dave's visual sets on Flickr I was very excited. He conveys a lot of lessons/insights -- vividly -- through that informal medium of sketches on Flickr.
Well, I have deliverables to deliver and mess to clean up.
So, parting gifts:
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" - Winston Churchill
Hey some of my favorite internal voices are curmudgeons. It'd be nice to have a social place where they could get out and play. :-)