CIO magazine this month had an article on dealing with complexity. It starts out with a term I’ve never heard before: Moore’s Flaw. This concept is something I’ve blogged about before in an entry about Accelerating complexity. The term though seems ideal since all the extra capability from Moore’s Law causes a never ending cascade of real and possible innovations. More than any organization can possibly understand.
There is quite a bit of material about complexity (like the CIO article). And it does make you ask: Is simplicity a fad? Or is it something that’s required just to keep your head above water. There is no doubt that business that can manage complexity better than their counterpart will have a leg up on their competitors.
The article went into four broad principles for reducing complexity (I‘ve included some of my thoughts as well):
- Make process central to your IT organization’s approach to technology. I’d take this a little further. CMMi and ITIL are examples of processes that people have talked about for a long time. Many organizations have stated they’ve deployed them. The key thing to look for is if the leadership team uses the deliverables from these processes as part of their decision making process. After all that’s why you should be making the investment, to understand what’s happening better, faster and ideally cheaper than before.
- You need superior governance of both the technology infrastructure and the business-IT relationship. Governance for SOA is unlike any governance we’ve had before. The whole “Does IT really matter” discussion has as much to do with business-IT governance as anything else. The reason why IT exists is to support the business, when we lose that perspective we lose. If we’re focused on commodity activities to the exclusion of business change. It’s a problem. Addressing Complexity is part of making business change happen.
- Everything you do must have simplicity as the default expectation. I’d rephrase this a bit. Everything we expect others to act upon must have simplicity as a default expectation. The reason information is shared is for people to do something different once they have it. It needs to be provided in a way they can consume it – attention engineered. That’s part of IT’s responsibility.
- Your efforts must be on-going. It’s a constant battle.