Thursday, October 12, 2006

Interfaces and communication. - part 1


Interfaces and communication. - part 1


Joel Spolsky recently wrote an interesting
essay on the development abstraction layer. His point, in short, is: shield your developers from the complexity of a company, because their talent is too important to be wasted in other then development.
True, but Poldina says it is partial.Let's start from the beginning.
Keeping developers focused allows them to do what they do at best and what they've been hired for, create software.Even keeping salesman focused allows them to operate at best.Maybe also the Marketing is, and the accounting, and the customer service too. Every function works at its best when it is shielded by other functions details. There is no deep insight in this, it is pretty intuitive.
We can easily understand that what allows every function to work at best is a CLEAR interface with the others. This concept is familiar to everyone who’s involved in IT. In other words, each function, each office, each unit in the company must follow a proper
PROTOCOL to communicate with the others.
All the bureaucracy ruling within large companies often starts as a genuine effort to rationalize the communication. At a lower level, in a small environment, the protocol will appear much more simple and informal, but it will exist. Maybe it is simply a whiteboard on the wall, but it exists.
To fit the protocol each communication must be formalized as much as possible. Each message must contain all the information required to the receiving end to react accordingly. This means setting up procedures for each conceivable incoming message. The most a task is automated, the most efficient it will be. To maximize the efficiency, incoming messages should be queued and processed one by one sequentially by each unit in the company.
If you are still here, probably you’ll be thinking that I re-invented the
Taylorism and I’m suggesting applying it to every business, even the small ones.
In a certain sense, this is true.
I can hear you shouting. What happened to creativity, intuition, flexibility that are claimed to be the key assets of a modern company?They are still here with us, and this will be explained in the next episode.
Stay tuned.

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