“There are two ways to build any system; either make it so complex that no defects are obvious, or so simple that there are no obvious defects.”
You dig? There are basically two approaches to systems creation; finding the simplest, most basic route and building outward in an organic way… Or the other way.
The other way is how most people get things done. You assess individual tasks on a requirement basis, and find solutions for individual problems. If you find that a set of solutions works toward the same, larger problem – you’re likely to bolt the solutions together, and call it a system.
The problem with systems is that they have cracks – all of them. Any set of solutions developed for specific problems and repurposed for larger problems is bound to be flawed – within the scope of the new problem. So what do we do? We patch. We band-aid things, add adjustments to compensate for the cracks, and call the mortar “polish” or somesuch. But it’s still flaws, all the way down.
How do we accommodate for this? We can’t necessarily redevelop solutions for every problem, there’s a lot of waste there.
Instead, I’d suggest we encourage publicness – build out from our cracks without hiding them. Allow for them, manage expectations instead of adding polish.
First step? Catch yourself, the next time you start polishing with phrases like “it’s not that simple,” or “there are reasons for this” – weasel words and obfuscations are polish, intended to hide the flaws in our haphazardly built systems. What we don’t realize is that haphazard is a pseudonym of organic in almost every instance.
If you can learn to recognize the polish for what it is, and allow the cracks to be obvious, you’ll stand a much better chance of recognizing when, how, and why things call through them.