Sunday, October 21, 2007

Applications are people too - more examples

I am on the plane on my way to RSA Europe in London and my skill of being able to sleep on any flight seems to have abandoned me. I’ve finished my airplane book (Hundred-Dollar Baby by Robert B Parker) and I can’t bear to watch the animated movie about surfing penguins in Hawaii – and so I have pulled the laptop down from the overhead to log some more musings on why applications are people too.

Applications are people too because…

Process, Technology and Value are to applications as Mind, Body and Spirit are to people. The ultimate goal is to achieve and sustain a perfect balance.

For wellness (process/technology or mind/body), the same mix of preventative, detective, monitoring and treatment strategies must be applied. Finding your way (spiritual/value) requires a view that is bigger than oneself.

It takes village to raise us properly. While it only takes a programmer and a machine to produce an application (like two parents…) – without context, guidance and support from the broader community (product mgmt, sales, etc) – what chance does an application have?

Our strongest characteristics are not inherently strengths or weaknesses – it is the environment or context that makes them so. An outgoing social personality can be someone’s greatest strength or their undoing depending on whether they are in sales or working for the NSA. An application that grabs all available memory to speed its processing is wonderful for a video editor and will create havoc for your background search indexer.

…and with security on my mind for this week’s conference…There are no good guys or bad guys – only supervised and unsupervised (this is an exact quote from a FBI agent that I still recall from a meeting in 1984 when I worked for IBM in their internal security group). The point here is that when you are thinking about security – do not have a double standard – one for the bad guys and one for the good guys – have a consistent approach that includes monitoring, verification and auditing.

Each of these examples just scratch the surface of course – it's the drilling down into these parallels that I think can provide some interesting heuristics that can help make the most of application investments and/or dependencies…

…gotta go, my lasagna bolognaise is coming down the aisle – yum – love that airline food!

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