Saturday, February 11, 2006


Enterprise Architecture and Practices of Oversimplification

I ran across the below quote which got me thinking...

Simplification can bring clarity to the minds eye. When I see raindrops, I see water falling, others make it much more complicated and uninteresting. I see the good in an idea, others may deem it their responsiblity to pick it apart to the point of making it nonsense. I find happiness in simplicity, while others look for ways of achieving happiness by doing things and consuming things, and buying things, and accumulating things. When the sun comes up in the morning, I see the start of a new day, with opportunities and challenges which are more easily solved by a simple minded approach. Solutions are far more valuable to me than the accumulation of problems which can not and should not be solved by me. Those who look at things with a minds eye which is clouded by complexity are like those who would like to see a tree, but fail to see it because of the forest.

Here are some useful decision simplification techniques. Sometimes, one needs to consider that certain things may be easy for you but not other folks. For example, math and computer related topics come very easy to me. Likewise, I have the ability to learn anything based on logic at a rapid pace. I also suffer from a disability that I don't talk about much and that is in writing cursive.

The funny thing is that when growing up, I remember a teacher in Six Grade (Mr Gagne) who called my parents in concern that I still printed and while other kids were writing in cursive. He gave me these templates that my parents made me trace after school every day. A year went by and I still don't know how to write cursive. The teachers told me that when I went to junior high school that I would be held back if I didn't learn. The cycle repeated itself multiple times in that I was told the same thing when attending high school. Today, I have to exert a lot of brain power in order to write cursive but have made up for this in other ways.

In high school, I enrolled in a typing course figuring that this would not only be a useful skill to have but also because the class was filled with babes. Of course, another guy (Hi Simon) had the same idea and we agreed which half of the class was my territory and which half was his. Anyway, I sat next to two babes (Hi Alicia and Cecilia) were highly competitive with me. Of course, I love competition and actually went from not typing at all to typing 65 WPM in three months. In another month, I got all the way to 80 WPM with no errors. The teacher was so impressed that I didn't have to show up for class for the rest of the year and got the opportunity to screw off.

Another learning disability I had is that I was pretty good in English until I hit ninth grade. In prior years, I was an A student and developed a pretty big vocabulary. In ninth grade though is when students started to read literature which made absolutely zero sense to me. The notion of symbolism was utterly confusing. I remember the teacher asking me why the villian in a particular story wore the color red. The only thing that came to mind is that maybe red was the color on sale and he was simply out for a bargain? Maybe the villian wore red because he forgot to do laundry the day prior and that was his only clean shirt. This part of my life was a struggle.

Sometimes, oversimplification is evil but sometimes it is useful. A peer of mines who happens to be passionate about Six Sigma has provided me with useful advice about techniques to make this simple for others. Six Sigma has some interesting practices that uncover ways to make things comprehendable by multiple participants. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to share with you what I learn from my journey into understanding this space over the next couple of weeks in a simplistic way...

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