Thursday 13 March 2014

Thought Picnic: Those dastardly complicators of the simple

I am not indispensable
In all my working life as a techie of sorts, I have always desired simplicity and ease. The simplicity of getting things done and the ease of seeing those things work along with the simplicity and ease of being able to get others to carry on from where I have left off.
I have never considered myself indispensable and God forbid that I have ever crafted solutions that would make me indispensable. Rather, I have earned the accolade of building things to last.
The reason why those things last is not because what I have done is inscrutable, but because I build in the ability for people to understand what I am trying to achieve and they can see how things work without having to peer into a magical black box of intricate workings that befuddle and bamboozle.
The bastardisation of projects
Sadly, not many in my field see things in this way. Their inclination is to complicate the simple and encipher the legible to the point that if it breaks, it requires just their presence and expertise to resolve.
In my view, it is the misuse of knowledge and genius, it is both narcissistic, uncharitable and utterly selfish, much as it is expensive to maintain as the organisation is somewhat forced to retain you, not so much for your ability but for the fearful risk that without your knowledge this might have a catastrophic outcome.
Manage the seemingly unmanageable talent
In the main, such a situation is avoidable, but it comes down to management, the management of the expertise and the management of expectations with the view of reducing complexity and complicated systems to maintainable processes accessible to other experts without having to climb steep learning curves.
There are sometimes reasons why bespoke solutions are necessary, however that should also be properly documented with flowcharts, workflows and the essential algorithms that would enable another in that field to understand and manage that process in the absence of the architects of that solution.
Simplify the complicated
This also appeals to a broadminded perspective to things, openness and accessibility making the understanding concepts and solutions easy and simple.
I know this is a challenge to some, but it is left to the organisation to decide whether complicating the simple is the way to go or simplifying the complicated is the best way to reduce cost, assure maintainability regardless of personnel and enforce industry standards.
Break free
I have seen too many black arts solutions, works of genius at the very least but at the same time, they are an atrocity of imposing the difficult presaging the unmanageable.
After so much has been invested in this kind of thinking, when the organisation finally gains the courage to break free from the people and this thinking to embrace open, simple, manageable and industry recognised standards, it can only be the best business decision they have made in a long time.
The question is, can they break free?

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