Skip to main content

How completely messed up practices become normal.

Paul Crowley (@ciphergoth) posted a couple of interesting links on Twitter about the "normalisation of deviance" and organisational culture. The first was about the crash of a light aircraft that happened in Boston in 2014.  The report concluded that the pilots omitted every safety check they should have performed before take-off, and even when they realised there was a problem they did not abandon the take-off attempt.  As a result, they and their passengers were all killed.

What is interesting about the article is the investigation into the culture of the company.  It seems that pilots never performed these safety checks.   The proper process was seen as an annoying waste of time.  We see this in our own industry as well and I was thinking of posting something about the tendency to skip proper sign-offs in a project process.

Fortunately, Paul saved me the effort by linking to a much longer blog post by Dan Luu, with the title How Completely Messed Up Practices Become Normal.  It's a fascinating look at some of the weird practices Dan has encountered in his career and at how organisations come to regard their practices as "normal".  He gives examples from open source projects and big companies.  I really recommend that everyone working in IT reads this and has a think about how we can make our own organisations more aware, both of our odd practices and of what the best organisations are doing instead.


Popular posts from this blog

A new EA Repository

One of my goals since starting this job two years ago has always been to create a repository for architecture documents.  The idea is to have a central store where people can find information about the University's applications, data sources, business processes, and other architectural information.  This store will make it easier for us to explain our plans, to show the current state of the University's information systems, and to explain what Enterprise Architecture is all about.

It's taken a long time to reach this goal, mainly because we're often had more pressing and immediate work to be done.  The creation of a repository is one of those tasks that is very important but never quite urgent.  So I'm now very happy to say that we are in the process of deploying a repository and modelling tool.

This is the culmination of a careful process to select the most appropriate tool for our needs.  We began by organising several workshops to gather requirements from a rang…

A brief summary of our major initiatives

I notice that in 2016 I wrote 34 posts on this blog.  This is only my fifth post in 2017 and we're already three-quarters of the way through the year.  Either I've suddenly got lazier, or else I've had less time to spend writing here.  As I'm not inclined to think of myself as especially lazy, I'm plumping for the latter explanation.

There really is a lot going on.  The University has several major initiatives under way, many of which need input from the Enterprise Architecture section.

The Service Excellence programme is overhauling (the buzzword is "transforming") our administrative processes for HR, Finance, and Student Administration.  Linked to this is a programme to procure an integrated ERP system to replace the adminstrative IT systems. 

Enabling Digital Transformation is a programme to put the middleware and architecture in place so that we can make our processes "digital first".  We're implementing an API framework, a notification…