The last friendly house

The last turn
the last quiet
winding street
until there are no street lights left
and the road
turns and finally stops
the end of the line
the last stop.
The lights in the window
and then fade to black
as we crunch across the snow
to the door
a red door
closed against the cold
we knock
rapping on the wood
which hurts the knuckles
there is no sound on the other side.
we knock again.
It seems
The last friendly house is closed.

Architects and Change

Over the years I’ve talked with a lot of architects about the concept of change. Change both as an agent (process improvment) and also change as a cause (forced).
Interesting that to a person most architects profess a dislike of change.
Yet change is the very factor by which architects exist.
So let’s talk about change. Change is a componet of architectures, in the sense that anything designed today will not ultimately be what gets deployed (and often the variance itself then becomes a separate archtiecture). Technology changes at a faster rate today, then business or IT can. Business often runs upgrades and other IT project over a two and three year period. Yet Moore’s law has us doubling processor speeds every 18 months. SO what is our project window? Can we push IT faster as architects to enable change within the change window we have (18 months) or is change itself a component of the architecture?
The second component of change is forced change. This is a situation where often a competitor or even the market itself (or customers) force an organization to change how things are done. This type of change can be painful. Where we know, in architecting a solution that what is deployed is seldom completely the same as what is designed, in the case of a forced change we now have the additional variable of less time to plan the change. In a forced change there is often the rapid implementation plan desired by the process improvement, but without the longer time for planning and testing the architecture.
Archtiects dislike the fact that nothing is ever deployed as designed and of course that when we forced things are never as clean as wel would like. My favorite old saying about IT is the classic line "on a clear disk you can seek forever." The funny thing is that all the architects I talk to, tend to be senior people in their organization who should in fact be the best people for managing change.
To me, change seems like the component of architecture that is fluid and as such is something that must be considered as well as measured. If we plan for change 18 months into the project, our architecture will then be closer to the final deployed solution.
The only problem we have, is that most people give up their crystal balls 🙂
Now if only we could count on roadmaps and capabilities!

sick of colds

So who is going to create the cure for the common cold? Since January my children have decided to share two separate colds with me. While I am glad that their mother’s constant (you need to share) talks are sinking in, I wish they would keep these germs to themselves.
I am so tired of colds its scary.
If you figure over the course of a lifetime that you average one or two colds a year, but the end of the average or expected lifespace that represents 160 colds.
Colds take me offline for 8-10 days. That means you’ve lost 160 days or 1/2 a year feeling bad just from colds in your lifetime. Surely there is a cure for these things out there.
Do we need to double our efforts?
Do we need a national ballot at our next major election?
What ever it is, we need to make it happen again.
TTFN – I have to go sneeze.

And what is it, we create

Over the years, my mother (as mother’s are wont to do) asks me what it is that I do for a living.
"Well mom" I find myself saying "I help companies consider the options they have around technology." Which usually is enough and ends the conversation (which is not my only goal – but certainly makes it easier for me to move on).
But is that true?
Is my job as an architect really that simple? To a degree I think it is. You can break the concepts and principals I follow down to the simplist level, I help customer’s realize their options.
Not that this is the driving force of my job. Rather, it is simple description of what I do. Much as what a doctor does when he or she preforms brain surgery (and I have no idea what is entailed in that) my job is a "awareness building of technology."
Like a lighthouse (which I have a great fondness for) I am a guide. More like a flashlight (in reality) but still a light in the darkness. I take confusing visions and help customer’s achieve them, while still steering them in the "ultimate" right direction.
The thing that I wonder about now, is the generation gap that is coming. My mother struggles to figure out what it is that I do. She loves me, and is willing to try becuase I am her child. But my computer skills started when I was 13 years old. My children, the next generation have been using computers since they were babies.
What will my children do? And will I understand that?

More thoughts around architecture

There is an interesting moment when a software architect crosses the known line of traditional architecture and heads into the unkown space that is almost an art.
That moment when a solution exceeds the capacity of the compents and becomes something new. A simple shared text editor becomes a blog. Two servers talking together exchanging infomation becomes email. Two servers talking to each other, and needing a way to address informaiton becomes the web.
That tipping point is very interesting to me. when a solution someone envisions stops merely "replacing" the functionality they intended to replace and begins to "become more." That concept that you are doing the same things over and over and yet somehow this one time its different (I am still trying to figure out why the first person roasted a marshmellow – what would tip you over that point?).
This concepts keeps me awake at night sometimes. Wondering if by living in a strict framework/process world I am limiting my solution to the capabilities listed, rather than the potential capabilities.
What is that tipping point? What makes a solution expand?
(and why marshmellow roasted, its not like they are gross raw).