Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Design for Maintenance

Many of my peers provide inspiration for several of the blog entries I write. One in particular (Hi JT) has been the stimulus that has resulted in many of my rants. He is both a geek and minimalist B-Boy (He doesn't know it though) in that he writes graffiti in his cubicle. He has a phrase hanging on the side that states: "Design for Maintenance". Like most b-boys, the vast majority will have no clue to the wisdom of his ability to tag. Figured it was long overdue as a b-boy myself to provide the 411...

I have always believed that the mind of a b-boy and an enterprise architect were in harmonic balance. Whether it is the neighborhood at work or at home, they have witnessed others let their surroundings fall into an abysmal state where no one really understands the legacy left behind any more. Even worse, future generations have failed to train others such that their neighborhood is sustainable and the knowledge they need to know to look after such important assets.

In suburbia, they can't seem to figure out why poor people remain poor or why some people can't just get a job and chalk it all up to attitude (they are only partially correct). Likewise, within an enterprise, the business as a neighborhood struggles to figure out why it takes "forever" to get a simple change made on these mission-critical systems. Like the all the stores moving out of the neighborhoods and downtowns to glitsy malls, the enterprise too is loosing employees to the evil that resides within the mall known as India. The enterprise is left with nobody that knows how to write COBOL. It would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Like poor people, developers are the low-status position within the enterprise reminiscent of a caste system. Maybe if the enterprise eliminated all forms of caste systems and the people who still practice it, they would be in a better state. No wonder both neighborhoods and the enterprise are in a state of disrepair. After all, they are being looked after by folks who can't wait to stop doing maintenance and start working on "real" projects.

I am not sure what JT was thinking about when he tagged: Design for Maintenance (and I am sure he will tell me) but in my humble opinion his comments weren't really about architecture (although he may believe otherwise) and are all about the human aspects of technology. Hopefully, he was thinking about the following:

Maybe Enterprise Architects and B-Boys' alike should listen to Chuck D. of Public Enemy and blast: Rebel without a Pause during meetings...

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