Saturday, June 7, 2008

Attention – this is not a metaphor or an analogy - application development and IT operations are really ecosystems

Central to the ecosystem concept is an idea that living organisms are continually engaged in a set of relationships with every other element in their environment. Any situation where there is relationship between organisms and their environment can be legitimately described as an ecosystem.

A system as small as an office or as geographically disbursed as a collection of digitally connected workspaces can be described and studied as human ecosystems. Now, ecosystems are often treated as lucrative sources of goods and services. Forest ecosystems produce wood and maritime ecosystems produce fish and application development ecosystems produce software.

Among the most interesting and active regions within any ecosystem are its edges – between the sea and seashore and between a development ecosystem and the IT operations ecosystems that it abuts. The points on land that define a coastline constantly shift with the tides and currents as do the points of work where end-users and applications meet.

I think there is genuine insight to be mined as we try to navigate the constantly changing social, technological, regulatory, economic and organizational impact of applications across the biosphere. Ecosystem classifications, functionality and biodiversity topics, the edge effect in ecosystems, studies on invasive species and traits of invaded ecosystems, … all have striking – and I think useful – parallels worth exploring to better manage the health and vitality of the application-dependent ecosystems that we all inhabit.

...and perhaps i will have the patience to jot some of these down here in the coming months...

I have been studying the point-of-work in this light for a few years now - and it clearly holds a true duality of purpose and form (like a wave and particle - but that is another post). Does the point-of-work hold the key to transforming (and aligning) the application supplier and consumer ecosystems? Therein lies the mystery - and only mother nature knows for sure.

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