Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Enterprise Antipatterns and Email

Yesterday, I ran across a highly respected architect (Hi MW) where we chatted about our history in IT. He described an antipattern for which I didn't at first know if there was a name to it, but figured I would share it. I am of the belief that this is actually practiced even more than Management by Magazine. Herein, we will refer to this newly discovered practice as: decisioning via email...

Here is how the discussion goes. Someone sends an email comparing product/solution/recommendation/etc A to product/solution/recommendation/etc B to a large distribution list. One individual in the distribution list actually reads the email in full detail and attempts to rationalize why product/solution/recommendation/etc B isn't a great fit and ultimately states that it doesn't handle X.

Here is where the pattern emerges. Someone will assume that since product/solution/recommendation/etc B doesn't handle X then by implication product/solution/recommendation/etc A must also suffer from the same deficiency. Folks who are logical understand that the only statement is that B is deficient because of X and not A.

The blogosphere is actually a bigger distribution list than any email system and suffers from the same fate. On countless occasions, folks who have read my blog assume that if I posted an amusing picture of George Bush doing something idiotic that I must somehow be a democratic. It never enters their mind that regardless of political affiliation that George Bush is still an idiot!

For the record, I am neither Democratic nor Republican as their is a dime's worth of difference between the two parties. I believe that America truly needs a third party with totally different set of values than either party brings. We shouldn't be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils to either run our government nor adopt a product within our enterprise.

Likewise this same argument can occur based on the phrase buy vs. build. How about introducing a third notion called open. Buy is evil because you have to pay 100% of the money and lose all control only to watch your competition have the same solution that you have when in all reality, you were of the believe that Rationalization is a form of architecture and justified spending lots of money on buying commodity products for competitive advantage.

Likewise, build is evil in that reinventing the wheel for the most part within your own enterprise will increase the total cost of ownership in the long run and in all honesty, you don't have Strong Technical Leadership to pull off something truly wonderful and are cursed with mediocrity for eternity.

There is always a third option. It is called open source. An enterprise should take every problem space and decompose a problem into determining which aspects of the problem are commodity and which aspects are competitive advantage. For the commodity part, you don't have to build 100% of it yourself nor buy. Consider finding other enterprises who have the same commodity needs and approach them regarding building this aspect. If you can find one other enterprise, then maybe you only need to build 50%. Find two and the amount needed to be built becomes 33% and the trend continues.

NOTE: Folks would be well-served by looking at models done by the airline and auto industry in this regard. Would be great if some of the larger analyst firms started to talk about how enterprises can directly build open source themselves...

Likewise another pattern that I often run into is that folks think that I am somehow blogging about work. Nothing could be further from the truth. I blog about things that I think about on a daily basis. If you are reading my blog, you should understand that anything I say is applicable to any company I may work for and never has anything to do with my current employer. Blogging about work and our secrets would be just plain dumb. If you read into my blogs then you will be even dumber.

The point of today's blog is pay attention to the words, don't read into what people are saying and sticking only reading what they have said. If you aren't capable of logic, then stay home and don't read at all.Anyway, I have to figure out how this pattern may be related to The Five Rules of Propaganda. Anyway, if you are into conspiracy theories, check out this blog...

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