The territory and the map

The Map is not the Territory by Claudio Gatti Recent responses to my article on Mirrors prompted me to attempt to clarify the approach in that article. I think there is a fundamental philosophical discovery to be made in what I try to say, and indeed some of those responses confirm that. But it is as much a path to discovery to me as it is to my readers. Architects create models. Indeed they do. People, human beings, use language. Certainly. The two things are related. In fact they are the same...

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There is no architecture. Only mirrors

Do away with architectural models. What we need to see is the essence of architecture, which is something we realise in software: a mirror of the enterprise. The idea is not new. It has always been surprising (and, to be honest, somewhat frustrating) that is hasn’t been picked up as I thought it would. And should. The book by David Gelernter: Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox…How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (1993), summed it up so...

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Software is not a product

The idea is ubiquitous: software is a “thing”. You engineer it, you build it. When you are done you appraise the end-result as a master artist views his piece. To do it better, you think about improving your build processes. You borrow from industries like the automobile industry (Toyota and its Lean method for example). You define projects and wrestle to improve your control over it. We want to build better things, and to build it better. It seems not to help. Projects fail. Software...

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The Inversion of Big Data

Big Data is the Big Thing at the moment. It won’t be ten years from now. And not because we tackled the technical aspects of handling it, or created huge business intelligence systems capable of harvesting the treasures hidden in it. Or because it has become generally accepted and arrived at Gartner’s plateau of productivity. It won’t be, because it is not scalable. Because the related privacy problems are insurmountable. Because its worth is directly related to the size of the...

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Why executive managers don’t have a clue

Executive management doesn’t have a clue. Everybody I talk to in organisations large and small agree. And I am talking managers here. They try. They do their best. They start doubting their intelligence. They install control mechanisms. They install more control mechanisms. Heck, they might even try (and burn their fingers on) business intelligence. Maybe that will give them the edge they may think they lack. Thing is: it’s unavoidable. It is humanly impossible to have a clue. Let’s...

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The need for enterprise architecture

Society is undergoing fundamental changes. This is not unique for our time and age, but both speed and depth of these changes are probably greater than we have seen in centuries. Enterprises are, whether they want it or not, both party and subject in these changes. The way businesses were organised in the past does not scale into this age, and certainly not in the “future” age. Wrestling with larger concerns, in numbers of customers (for example in the case of producers of software),...

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The art of … what NOT to do

Again I was struck by the tendency of many “experts” to use too much. They have a bag-of-tricks which for some reason needs to be used exhaustively. And the tools and frameworks do mention (sometimes) that you need to tailor them, but that doesn’t stick. If it’s there, it’s there for a reason, right? Let’s use it. Frameworks are, by definition, a superset of what you need. Or did you imagine everyone needs the same things? The fact that you know all that doesn’t...

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The Business-IT Fallacy

It is a psychological block that keeps an artificial divide alive that never really existed in the first place. And the block is kept in place by exactly those people that *think* they grok information technology. Myself included I fear. It is such a nice, alluring thing, technology. Like religion in the old days it has this promise of change for the better, of a solution to so many if not all of our problems. It will save us loads of time, it will provide us with innumerable friends, it is the...

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EA and political neutrality

A general complaint from people who focus on content instead of form is that “we could do it, if only we didn’t have to waste all our energy on political issues”. True. Maybe. Point is, political context is a part of any group of people larger than one. And not a part we should regret. On the contrary: being aware of it, and learning political agility makes realising enterprise architecture goals much more viable. Recognise that you, as an enterprise architect, are (probably)...

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Agile development of software for medical systems

Some application areas have quite strict quality requirements. The space and aviation industry is one, another in which I am currently involved is that of medical systems. The importance of quality for those systems has led to the establishment of several quality standards for the development of software for medical systems, of which I will name a few: ISO 9000 and ISO 13485 describe the requirements for a quality system that is implemented in the developing company. IEC 62304 describes requirements...

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