The Builder Anti-pattern

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

A friend emailed me yesterday asking which anti-pattern did I avoid (communications anti-patterns in particular he said, as he knew my first question back to him was architectural, communications or other types of anti-patterns).

I didn’t reply right away. I know the anti-pattern that impacts me the most but I also know why it impacts me the most. So I asked my friend if in fact he was most interested in the anti-pattern or the why of my interaction with that anti-pattern. He said both.

So here is it, the anti-pattern (out of the 29 I have shared so far) is the builder. First because I worked in a company where there were a lot of builders. Really smart people who could take an existing idea or concept and make it real. The problem was and is for me and this particular type of anti-pattern is I tend towards the idea creation side of the fence. I was once told by one of my all-time favorite managers that I should “get the ball rolling and then get out of the way.”

That forced me to work with builders a lot. They make me uncomfortable because they are in control. It isn’t that they poo-poo the ideas of others. That doesn’t really bother me. It’s the being in control part. They can’t let any one part of what they are doing go unmanaged. It’s the micro-management that I cannot function with. I know a lot of people that I’ve tried to be close with over the years that exhibit the building anti-pattern. In the end I cannot remain close to them and end up keeping them at arms distance.

So, to answer your question – the Builder Anti-Pattern.

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Its 1984…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

What’s next…

I’ve noticed (full-disclosure I am a HUGE KICKSTARTER fan) lately the convergence that is occurring. Between android and ios devices there is a huge number of things you can add onto your device to produce results. From light meters to infra-red camera attachments there are a number of interesting converged devices.

I wrote earlier this year about the concept I had of the personal area storage network. I am now adding the concept of the personal area sensor network.

First off, I am not a futurist nor have I suddenly changed gears and begun to believe such a thing exists. I do however believe in trends. Mobility produces a different style of application – the applications I call bite sized where you actually only consume a part of what is available. I believe the same is true in this convergence space as well.

The concept of bite size solutions is intriguing. From the Metawatch and the Pebble (screen as a service) to the broader add ons (infa-red, Geiger counter, light meter etc) the convergence is creating bite sized sensor technology.

As a weather and space buff I have long been able to connect my telescope and my weather station to my computer. From there it isn’t that hard to share my view of the universe with other people if I choose to. I did for awhile in Indiana, but now I use my weather for my purposes. (ie how cold is it, really).

Today I can choose to share this information. (by the way its 48 degrees in Gaithersburg right now. What however, for a moment if I may, would the world be like if that sensor could be turned on remotely?

There is an old joke “paranoia is thinking someone is after you. Realism is knowing they are.” Assume for a moment that we are all carrying a mobile device – that device at the least has a Microphone. The interesting show Person of Interest shows the very real ability for someone to turn on your phone as a remote listening device. In fact it would be possible given the right technology and the right level of connection to turn on all the devices in an area. You touch the cell tower and suddenly someone is listening to you. Even a burner phone at that point would be compromised. Everyone would be monitored by big brother.

The advantage of the rest of us would be the concept of sensory overload. The easiest way to hide something is in plain sight. The best way to do that on a mobile device is to connect tons of input and output devices to that device. The noise becomes greater than the information.

Bite sized applications, bite sized hardware solution and bite sized information will be a driver for the future. Who is watching you may be something you need to think about when you are using the devices.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The “supporter” pattern…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

The other day I spent some time detailing the gardener communication pattern. (It felt good to devote a blog to a positive pattern rather than focusing on the anti-patterns). It is often easier to view the negative side of things than considering the positive.

The pattern for today is the supporter for lack of a better name. Now before anyone gets into this is a “yes-person” let’s carefully define what a supporter is.

  • First: Supporters tell the person the truth. Even if the truth is painful to hear.
  • Second: The supporter does the truth telling in private (one on one) rather than in a meeting. In the meeting they support the idea (if it is viable).
  • Third: The support doesn’t support bad ideas. They do support your right to have the idea, but not a bad idea. They will however do so in a nice way (telling you nicely – one on one if possible, but won’t dress you down publicly)

This pattern works very well with the gardener, driving towards helping people move forward. Like the gardener this person works on the sideline and isn’t often in the spotlight. They are the first person you go to (if you are lucky enough to know one) when you have an idea. The reason for the supporter first, is if it is a good idea they are the conduit to the gardeners. Supporters have a huge network of people, they are aware of and build on that network to help good ideas flourish – just as the gardener does. They will however also do the harder job of telling you your idea won’t work.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

I cannot fail…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

Rhetoric.

Frankly as someone who spends time evaluating communication it scares me. Scares me because it is little more than words but so much more when you consider menace and malice.

The problem with Rhetoric is that there are a number of anti-patterns that focus on building and delivering their messages via Rhetoric. Why? Because it is a lot easier to say things you don’t intend to deliver in the fashion rhetoric is delivered.

You see there are two kinds of Rhetoric in the world around us. Bluster and belief are the names I give them. Bluster is simply someone who feels they have no way out but knows inside that they will eventually give in. So they bluster in the hopes that the other person will mistake the Rhetoric as belief and back down.

Belief is far more dangerous. I used to work with people who in the end believed their own Rhetoric. The belief in their own postured Rhetoric has created a mythos in their own mind about who and what they were. People like that in the end are scary. They are often wrapped around being right. PT Barnum once said “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” The corollary to that statement that I would like to propose is “you can fool yourself all of the time.”

In the end those who live and die by the Rhetoric they believe in, in fact are fooling themselves. It is after all simply an expulsion of air through vocal cords that creates the thought you express. You didn’t invent speech. You didn’t create the earth. Evolution is all around you, but your Rhetoric traps you.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

To the heroes…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

We call them first responders. You see them in the horrifying video from Boston, running towards the first blast to help the injured and get them to safety. You hear them on television the reporter asking them “why did you run towards the injured, you didn’t know if there was a second or third bomb” they answer simply “you have to.” It a selfless human pattern. It rises beyond communication and into the realm of humanity itself. The first responders are my heroes.

To those who plant such devices with the intent of harming others, I suspect there is a pattern and anti-pattern there but its too horrifying to believe that such an anti-pattern exists. I would prefer to dream that the pattern is the only one that has no anti-pattern associated with it. It stands alone.

A hero. Someone for us to thank, to honor. Someone we can all look up to as someone we would like to be. As I said a true hero. Not someone who can dunk a basketball, but someone who is willing to risk everything that is theirs, to help those in pain and agony.

To the hero’s of Boston you truly represent what is best in and of our country.

May the wind always be at your back and may the road rise up to meet you.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

What might have been…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

The genre “horror” movies always has one tenant, don’t be the first person off in the woods, house or wherever the movie is set alone. The darkness (and they are all dark – spirits don’t like coming out in the daytime, it’s the Jacob Marley rule).

What intrigues me about that is that the same is true for communication. If, you go off on your own while attempting to communicate with others, you will in effect not communicate.

My Rules for Communication:

  • Meaning: Words have meanings that are assigned to them. People often change the meaning over time, which is why dictionaries have to exist. It is the human nature of communication that drifts, not the words we use. Where possible always use words correctly.
  • Listen: Fake communication is worse than not even trying. Yes, if you tip your head it appears you are listening but if you actually aren’t listening then it doesn’t matter you are communication.
  • Love ideas: If an idea enters the room accept and embrace it. It may be completely the wrong thing to do, but if you consider it and listen to the idea, you may be sparked to find the better way. Ideas are as precious as people are.
  • There is a pattern and an anti-pattern that create communications nirvana or disharmony. Both must be present in a meeting. The pattern is the most intelligent person in the room. The anti-pattern is the smartest person in the room. The pattern seldom speaks but has the breadth and understanding of the problem and often the solution. The anti-pattern talks and will always dismiss others. The rule is to balance the patterns and anti-patterns in the meeting and on the team. You need to understand what your team goal is, in picking the patterns and the anti-patterns you include.

Some communications patterns and anti-patterns are self assigned and are there no matter what. Some are riskier and those are the ones you need to carefully cultivate.

Rather than fighting against the anti-pattern you need to cultivate the corresponding pattern. This allows for a more effective reality based successful team that won’t get caught in the what might have been syndrome.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

in response…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

To respond to an email yesterday, in fact its true that I like many people do focus on the more easily talked about anti-patterns rather than only talking about the patterns. The anti-patterns are easier to spot and be concerned with. However, the patterns are truly the why we do things.

Great leaders exhibit a number of wonderful patterns for us to consider. The orator (as long as they aren’t the negative side of that the “misleader” is a great communications pattern. It isn’t one that architects often leverage as it is more of a management style.

The gardener is a great pattern for most architects. Why? Because projects need to grow and be nurtured over time.

There are many more, so to the email comment, yes you are right we should celebrate the patterns and work around the anti-patterns. We shouldn’t spend as much time on the anti-patterns. We should just watch out for them.

Make it an anti-pattern free day.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

My project is there, sinking into the tar pit…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

In thinking about patterns and anti-patterns I stirred an old friend into emailing me. He has for years talked about the bias of architecture and architects.

At times over the years I’ve argued with him about the bias he sees but in the end I’ve come to see that bias not only through his eyes but my own as well.

There are the easy ones. Software Architects believe you can solve every problem within software and that they know the best way to run and operate all the solutions they build and deploy. Infrastructure architects believe if you remove solutions the network will work perfectly and that hardware/virtualization/cloud will solve all the problems.

His point was exceptional – that in fact the bias of the architect will not influence the anti-patterns he or she sees it will also influence the impact of any one pattern or anti-pattern on the architect and eventually the architecture.

Now he carries beyond the communications issues to the fact that the bias of the architect can destroy the architecture. It is an interesting concept and when viewed from a high level down it makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen a number of solutions over the years (some COTs and some FOSS) that frankly I wonder if the bias didn’t in the end force a solution rather than enable it.

The architects bias can also impact the impact of a specific anti-pattern on a project. If the architect has the builder anti-pattern (that manifests itself in that case as NOT-INVENTED-HERE SYMDROME) you will see the bias shift the solution away from a great idea. Unless of course the idea creator had the idea, and wasn’t involved in the project (Builders are very good at taking an existing idea and expanding it, they are not as good when it is only their ideas being built on).

It becomes a very interesting problem. The bias of the architect (solution, infrastructure, Cots, FOSS etc) will greatly impact the overall project. Beyond the tilt of the bias if the architect and we all do, has an anti-pattern that can take the project even further off the beaten path.

We’ve heard for years that projects fail. We’ve heard about the pit of despair and the various ways a project can die. In the end it may have been dead before it started. Bias and anti-patterns of communication making a great idea into the greatest tar pit ever.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The anti-pattern wall…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

So why care so much about anti-patterns?

I got a great email not asking that question rather considering the why of knowing anti-patterns.

Blocking.

People frequently block anti-patterns. You don’t think about it, but you do. In fact if you sat down and wrote up a list, you would in fact find that you intentionally block a large number of anti-patterns. You lock them out based on the first time they exhibit that behavior.

Think about 5 people you used to hang out with that you don’t anymore. A couple  of those are simply because as human beings you drifted apart. But one or two of them are related to their specific anti-pattern. We have patterns and anti-patterns (AP) in our personality. Many times an anti-pattern won’t even bother you, if the situation or relationship doesn’t cause that particular part of the person to flourish.

But there are a list of people you block because of that AP. It particular AP’s by person as well. For example Builders make me nervous. You have a good chance of getting run over by a builder who is politically motivated. Project pirates don’t bother me as they can be managed but dancing bears on unicycles drive me up the wall. In both cases the inability of the anti-pattern to listen is what gets me. I find that I often block people that I feel don’t listen.

Which of the anti-patterns causes you to being erecting the great wall of you can’t talk to me…

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Its right there behind you…

http://docandersen.podbean.com
https://docandersen.wordpress.com
http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://lukeoandersen.wordpress.com
http://chuckandersen.wordpress.com
http://NickOandersen.wordpress.com
http://content.iasahome.org/blog
http://www.safegov.org

if you have read this blog a few times you will know that one of my passions is seeking out and identifying patterns and anti-patterns in communication. You can probably surmise that the reason for my quest is that I’ve been burned by one or two patterns in the past and you would be correct.

The reality of these interactions we call communication is that there are one or two patterns and anti-patterns we are not good at spotting.

For me the gardener is really hard to see. I realized that when I wrote the blog about that pattern that in fact I do not often see the subtle shifts and correct placement of components the gardener does.

Another anti-pattern I miss and have been burned by a number of times is the builder. For whatever reason until recently I’ve been trapped in the allure of the end game, without seeing the destruction caused in the beginning. I suspect my blindness to this anti-pattern has been because I didn’t want to see it in others.

So I am thinking now about the various collections I have now of patterns and anti-patterns. Perhaps I should do a Cloud Whisperer segment on how the roles impact cloud solutions. Or perhaps I should just compile all of them and start a new book.

Communications isn’t a one way street. It isn’t a hobby we pick up and put down. It is an essential component of the fabric we weave that comprises part of our society.

That said, what communications patterns do you miss?

Which of the anti-patterns sits next to you and you don’t perceive it?

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow