Patterns Day 2019 - Danielle Huntrods

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Topology. The talk I didn't realise I needed to see. Starting off with inter-tidal zones, a picture of a Klein bottle, into how we should be caring about the gaps and the overlaps in our projects instead of just the things (say, components?), and back around to inter-tidal zones. Danielle gave a brilliant talk that critiqued the work we do from a perspective I hadn't ever thought of but I think it may help me to structure how I think about some of the work we do in the future.

Here's my attempt at making notes (the video will be out soon, you will probably understand it all better by watching that!):

  • How do we know which approach would work well for a particular project?
  • Good analogy is topology
  • Industrial revolution broke every task down to the minimal repeatable task
  • Made life hard for people but also helped them
  • Medicine used to be performed by barbers because “they had the right tools”
  • “Breaking anything down causes categorisation”
  • Category boundaries give artificial issues. Not enough about relationship between categories
  • “Topologies of workplaces left with gaps and overlaps. If we don’t have a category to cover it in effect it becomes invisible”
  • The first step to fixing problems is to recognise them as typological problems
  • Symptoms:
  • duplication of effort
  • Conflict over ownership
  • Incorrect implementation
  • Recurrent miscommunications
  • By breaking components down we loose context
  • They still need to remain coherent in different configurations
  • Design consistent system of spacing and layout to control how components relate together
  • Solutions:
  • Keep track of categories, they are a representation of the truth but not the truth themselves
  • Remember the end goal
  • See the negative space, not just in design but in code, processes and teams
  • Choose tools that match the model of what we are trying to achieve
  • Establish a single source of truth
  • Set priorities for evaluating conflicting requirements
  • Our discipline has been forced to professionalise, including causing conflict between people
  • Sense of freedom being lost, no long just a text editor to share to the world
  • Industry is a victim of its own success
  • Like doctors in early 20th century we are facing risk of double edged blade. Increasing barrier to entry
  • “Isn’t our entire industry a inter tidal zone. Haven’t we always coped with rapid change”
  • The arguments in industry is about the nodes (the tools and frameworks) but missing the overlaps and gaps
  • Understand the forces acting on our industry so we don’t loose control of how it evolves