Previously, I wrote about communication overhead in tech and the two cultures around it. Broadly, I perceive two broad camps: there are the shippers and there are the talkers. Shippers ship. Talkers talk, then ship.
In this post I’ll describe three forms of written communication and how they link up with current cultural megatrends.
There are those that can write instructions that a human can reliably compile and execute (management). There are those that can write instructions that an organization can reliably compile and execute (governance/policy). There are those that can write instructions that a computer can reliably compile and execute (development).
There are instructions that can be typed that cause performance in people. Such parameters include the outcome, the instruction, the timeline, the deadline, the inducement, and in exceptional circumstances, the intuition.
There are policies that can be typed that cause performance in management structures. Such parameters include the goal, the business plan, the fantasy excel spreadsheet of projections, the drop dead date, the reward, the contract, and, in exceptional governance situations, the intuition. The idea of a library that contains every single business plan possible originates from Eric D. Beinhocker (The Origin of Wealth, p. 236).
There are instructions that can be typed that cause performance in profit structures themselves. Such parameters include the testing logic, the error logic, the business logic, the operators, the operands, the payment information, the utility, and in exceptional technological situations, the documentation.
All three classes of instructions return different error messages at different time and magnitude scales.
A computer typically returns performance errors on the order of seconds. A direct report typically returns performance errors on the order of minutes or weeks. An organization typically returns performance errors on the order or quarters or years. The rate of error return shapes a lot of our professional experiences.
The megatrend in writing instructions to a computer is continuous integration. This coincides with the megatrend in business strategy towards lean methods / pivoting. I perceive no megatrend in management itself though I think Dr. André Spicer has made more than a dozen excellent observations on the topic.