2 February 2021

IT Solutions Architecture

Over the years I was in the role of IT Solutions Architect, (SA) but I don’t think I understood what was going on at a deeper level. I was an SA, for sure, and I did those things well.

I would be asked how to do SA. To me it was quite natural, so I didn’t ever find a satisfactory explanation to what I did know was in part an art form combined with technical skill.

I could describe in a way how I looked at things, how I would provide solutions that took a number of factors into account, express and document that, and help facilitate people to do that well.

I could use corporate terminology and describe how SA work reduces risks ensuring successful outcomes, therefore saving companies money. I could talk about providing a balance between what the company wanted, and how people work for their interests.

When people got stuck on what to do, I could outline the way forward to what would become a reality. I had some complex problems people could not solve.

But what was an SA? That’s where I felt some deeper level of dissatisfaction in trying to describe that. Of course I could give some stock answers to people who asked.

Now I understand more about what was going on.

There are at least two types of people in the corporate environment. There are those who just do things and do it with precision and outstanding ability – the technical people, or perhaps those of a conservative psychology. They can take what the creative people do and make it into something economically big. They think they do the work, so, to them, creative people are not working, even though our creative people are in fact working, just not the same way. There is no less energy involved. Those who were less creative, not the creative psychology, would try to put a box around those who were creative.

For instance, it really bugged one manager who wanted to make me do some formal course that would structure what I did. He put my work down. He was not intending to be bad, he just didn’t understand what was going on and the differences between two distinct classes of people.

We all know it takes a certain type of person to drive a train all day. If you put them into some other “box” you think is right, it will drive them crazy.

While an accountant may be great at what they do, they are happy to do what they do, but a creative person forced into the same style of work would go nuts.

It is not that one type of person is better than the other, but we lack a fundamental awareness of what is happening here.

Some would point out, this is very much tied up with biology, so that being the case, good luck with trying to make a creative person an accountant, or an accountant an artist. It will never work.

I think it comes to this simpler definition of creativity that supports the way the SA works. That is what I was not understanding, because I was just being me.

What has happened though, as in any area of human endeavour and formalisation, is that people move into roles of SA thinking they are the masters when they do not have that creativity. Then, the managers who are “conservative” do not understand creativity so they damage what the SA does. One example is trying to redefine what the SA will do in their organisation, or even removing their qualified job title to something else. This is almost without words to describe, but it is possibly ignorance, unethical and for personal gain.

People like the sound of things, so a number get into technical positions that present opportunities to be classified as an SA. However, the true definition of SA involves peers, even Internationally who recognise this role developing in someone’s work. It is a role that does not have classes and exams. It is entirely dependent on previous work history and a different level or way of working, which is why it is successful. This of course bugs those who have specific examinations and complex processes for their projects.

Part of the SA environment is highly technical, but it is also a role of much more freedom that regular employees experience. This is adverse to some, who may judge the SA and think they are trying to big note themselves, when they are not. The SA has a really valuable role. To dismiss it from some personal position of one’s own problems is nasty to say the least. It may also reflect strong immaturity of another person – which does happen. But yes, some people are jealous. The SA has a lot of freedom. I can talk to the shop floor operator with as much genuine concern and interaction as with a CEO, and am fully able to talk with both. There may be different dynamics at play too. Shop floor banter is different to the tricks technical mangers get up to, and they do try to trick. I found that out very quickly in Taiwan.

In the Taipei project, people did not leave their office to have lunch with each other, or have morning tea outside. I stopped a meeting and said I refused to continue. I said I was going outside to get morning tea and that someone would have to go with me or I would not be able to get back into the building. That is what I did. We also had a team lunch, which was something no one had experienced before, and would not again. People’s lives were not accomplishing anything more by having most of their lives living at their desks and sleeping under them. I was so desirous and glad to get out of Taiwan despite it having the best food in the world I ever had. Back to the point…

The project manager tested me without telling me he was doing that. He withheld information. At some point I said things did not make sense and why. I told him what should be happening for their processing to work. One could not know this without detailed training or information on both the software, and understanding processes and solutions. The manager and his offsider were very expressive with joy and excitement when I said this. They said they knew, that they were testing me, not telling me to see if I knew. This backhanded approach is not right, but as an SA one will have to deal with many types of situations which by the way only proves you are qualified, that you did not get into that position by some flaky way that people may want to think or redefine according to their own views. They cannot stand in front of a CEO and provide a solution either taking into account culture, position, or body language from those who make the power decisions. The SA role is not simplistic or purely gradable in some inappropriate test.

On that same project I attended a meeting with lots of diagrams on a whiteboard concerning the servers they had throughout Taiwan. This was not what we had come overseas for. It was out of scope. The manager asked me for a solution. I gave some conceptual ideas, and said I would be better having time to think it through and get back on it. He kind of laughed at me and said if I was a solutions architect I had to give a solution now! I stood up, went to the whiteboard and discussed a solution with some caveats. They were satisfied as it was a solution that could work. Whether they wanted to do it or could afford to given the complexity is another question.

I was always encouraged by two of my managers in the back of my mind and experience. Once, my manager said how I have to be more confident and not move into that mode of worrying and communicating hesitancy. After all, I was working with one of the largest companies in the world. That helped a lot. Another piece of advise from another manager during a project in Perth, was to just be me. Do what I like to do, who I am, and from that point things just fitted and went well. By the time I was on the Taiwan project I had confidence to meet those unexpected situations that came up. I look back on the timing of things in amazement. But the point here is that creative people only work well when the are in the flow. Flow is everything. If we stop and look at the cavern below us, or if we become self conscious, it stops the flow. It is a healthy experience to move in this flow and find solutions, mapping them out for others to move with us. People love it. This co-operative, creative process is incredibly strong for bringing people together under common goals and outcomes.

Awareness is part of the creative person. We think about things. Why are we doing what we do? How do I feel about that? What does it do to you? During the Taiwan project, I noticed the incumbent contractor was doing wrong things. During my summary in the CEO’s meeting room, I thanked them for having me, that I could not possibly understand all their business was doing, so I asked for their patience with me on that front. Then I said I would like to be fairly frank about a few things. Thus said, I moved on to detail. I showed how their contractor was telling them what to do rather than them telling the contractor what to do, and where they could change some fundamentals. Awareness lets us try to identify what is happening, and how to construct solutions.

Because a larger section of people are in a structured mode of working, they may not see solutions outside of the box or boxes they work in. Creative people move outside the box and validate what they do. They see that way. They can therefore see what you are doing, and gaps in the floor. Some highly intelligent and wonderful people may have our entire respect, but we may be asked some hard questions about why we approach some aspect of a solution in the way we do. This is a real challenge.

Our work is not pie in the sky – some conceptualisation. Our hands may knit together a solution just as much as any detailed programmer would. It is surprising how many people in IT do not want to be called a programmer. I have no idea why, as I would be proud to hold that title. It reflects a real and valuable capability. They deflect this terminology even though that is what they do. One problem with it is that programmers may build a “solution” that really annoys the end user, or has severe faults. You can say what you like, but no one will listen to you. These issues can’t be solved by intelligence or reason. It goes back to how someone is experiencing life, their emotions, their opinions, or other factors. You can participate in these projects, but not move past these sticking points. I once got so frustrated that a project was making clients go through hurdles in order to use the software. My manager asked me to pull back, to let them do what they were doing. He knew what was happening. I learnt a lot from that.

But my own technical skills, as part of the roadmap towards being an SA were developed, a lot actually. And those skills were under the banner of exams, testing, proven outcomes. On one project, the requirement was first a concept. We got into some details with the client. As we developed the design we could request the client modify parts of the design so that it may become programmable. Our solution also recognised the newness of the work, so we split the project into manageable components that were safe, that could be developed further as or if needed. A Business Analyst, or a Project Manager will not add this value in this way to a project. The final process was outlined enough for us all to work with, but no one knew how to do the algorithms to make it work. It was too complex for all those in the project and the company’s “programmers” basically refused to do the work. It took me months to work out the logic. My creative approach tells the story, which I understand better now. I would use pieces of blank paper, no lines on it, drawing many pages of diagrams and “equations”. This would take place at any hour of day or night. I had a notebook beside my bed. However, the final algorithms fell into place on some smaller sheets of paper when I was at the airport waiting for my flight. This is creativity under a longer period of time. The American Express project was a success.

I think it is a bit like playing music. If we get into some details, we know when a person is playing F# instead of F. This is how we understand things. I was able to participate with lovely people who were different to me with levels of skills and abilities to deliver on projects that put me in both awe and thanks. But what do you do if someone is partly autistic, or has some other fundamental experience of life that is not your own? How do we get tasks done with people who are not the same as us? This is about humanity and is very upsetting if we fail to understand and do. My saddest moment during one period of time in the workforce was when someone kept saying they would provide the details which I outlined for a project that would cost us immense penalties if we did not deliver on time. As we develop a project, many people become dependent on others making progress on time. But this one fellow did not work this way. To him everything would be all right. He would say it is under control. As we approached D-Day it was not. I offered ideas about taking notes on a piece of paper like a check list to get through the tasks. I had no other way to manage this. He did not work this way, but the complexity needed it. I always felt ashamed and upset because it was as if I was negating who that person was, who was an adult, a wonderful person. I had no choice. Clearly this project did not fit in with how he worked, therefore who he was as a person. I don’t think I will ever sit well with this even though I tried to be careful about it. The reality was the project would have failed. So there we have another example of how a project may make demands on people that we as people cannot deliver. I have seen those projects and the tears people have trying to execute them. I feel there are other ways, but corporations do not provide those other ways. At least I too know what it is to suffer in the workforce.

I was once told by a senior engineer that my solution for a project with Qantas would not work. This was not a side comment. It was forceful, direct, and repeated. I have been known to be determined, like a dog not letting go of a bone. I re-validated even more carefully what I was doing, but the engineer still did not agree – by which stage he stuck emotionally to opinion and pride rather than evidence. Of course, the project worked. And incidentally, there was no other known technical solution available or known at that point in time.

There was another project involving a transition of technology from what we call legacy to current technology. I knew the direction people were taking was not achievable. Technology has its own definitions, and no matter what you do, you can’t ignore that to peril. The person who proposed a way of dealing with the project, did not present a solution. He relied on one piece of software, that I knew could not do the job. He was the kind of person who went to sleep during the day in front of everyone at his desk. He did have some past contacts who got along well with him, but he moved into an area of work that frankly I think became his demise. So there was this oddity of being really liked and respected by those people, and considered with no delight, to put it mildly, in his present work.

I proposed the way forward, which involved work with a team in USA. We showed parts of the work working well, and how we would work with the additional data in the same way to complete what we could define as a set of work. Because this needed interaction between USA and Australia, and required time, we knew the project would work. It did. However, the project team was told from people higher up the time had to be sooner, and there was no choice. It did not matter to those people that on the day we go live, nothing would work, and people would have no choice but to impose fines and sack people. The team manager tried very hard to move to that piece of software to complete the project, but I persisted.

So, we have a number of factors at play during project development and execution. If you want to ignore your architects, so be it, you will suffer for it.

But what I found hard to deal with was people asking me how to do SA work so they could do it. They wanted those techniques. I could only talk informally about some things that make it work, but they still wanted some clear-cut formalisation to put into practice. Obviously, this is the difference again between creative and conservative.

But what remained a mystery to me for several years, was why were the architects in some companies doing what I instinctively knew was the right thing, and other companies had SA’s who were in some other world of their own. Was I misguided?

I learnt that ANZ Bank, for instance, had great architects. These were good people. We knew how to work together and get excited, producing results.

But the architects in an outsourcing company were a horror story. When I worked with them, my doctor said I would get clinically depressed if it went on any longer. I resigned and told the managers in no uncertain terms it was the worst job I had ever been in! And then some!

Their work was clearly not the SA role that I knew, but who was I to know different. Looking back, I believe their work was in conflict with the industry definition and processes for recognition of the SA role and its proven qualifications. But a company can do what they want to do, so there you have it. And some companies used the SA out of an industry requirement perspective, even if the people doing those jobs were more in my view technical architects as opposed to solutions architects.

An outsourcing company may have incredibly intelligent people who work non-stop with great complexities. There is no other way at times to handle the hardest projects that exist in Australia. That was not my joy, even though I loved complexity.

Some companies use their staff, knowing they are abusive. Their architects or projects leaders truly abuse other people in the fullest sense and get away with it, but those higher up know this gets what they want. Many times people walk in fear and try to hide from these shocking people on the floor. Who will recompense those abusive impacts on people’s emotions and lives? No one. Don’t think for a moment that Human Resources stands up to a wide range of bad people in corporations. This is not some rant or opinion, but is based on observable incidents over years of work within the workforce.

At the end of the day, there are many personality types and biological backgrounds we all have. This is not being fostered and protected to greater benefit in the workforce. Some managers see the differences, even if they don’t understand what is going on – they just know what direction to go in and what to support.

Today, many young people want good people working around them, good mangers. The abrasive and harmful people of course do exist, even savages with spears in that corporate jungle.

The lesson from this is that for so many years, I moved in and out of projects using all the skills I had, doing successful work, using diplomacy, psychology as required, but I never really knew the things I am mentioning here. It would have helped me when I suffered greatly at the hands of some others. I feel it really does come down to distinctive types of people, and that a good manager should recognise this in order to foster it properly. Without this, and with no accountability to such awareness, we work by methodologies in the workforce that have been prescribed as templates, and in doing so we stifle better outcomes and hurt people all the time. This is not a sob story. It is not crying. It is simply saying, hey, this is what is actually going on and it helps to know what is going on if we want to be more sane or do better together.

Better means a better bottom line, but you can be assured there are well meaning, good people with qualification who simply cannot make decisions in times of need, even though you explain how something will give the results. This total inability is at first astounding to watch, but it too comes back to who people are, rather than their job roles.

The solutions architect, the “proper” ones, mix creativity with practicality in a way that uplifts us all. Our minds work in a different way to those who then leverage our work and focus in those aspects of conservatism that hold structures together and produce economic gains. Both ends of the scale are necessary or we would not have biological diversity, or interesting societies and environments.

What is an example of this outside the IT realm?

Do you recall how ragged and tattered the feeling once was in West End, in Brisbane? It was really energetic moving in this area, or even going to the markets. Developers took over. More conservative people moved in. The area tried to retain its reputation, but it changed. Those beautiful things that once defined it were reshaped or moved out. Now it is known as a highly noisy and dense area.

Do you recall how Eat Street Markets were once a collection of spaces that let you feel you could explore and at times get lost. The new markets are formally laid out. That sense is permanently lost. The new markets are nice. I really like the formality, but it is not the same.

I think there is a continual interaction between creative and pragmatic, the most conservative staying safely in the middle of these environments, and the artists further out to the fringes. Both are necessary to the other but it is always changing.

People see something is their way, not yours, and you get undervalued, but it can flip too. We all know too well that the highly accomplished technical musician is not imparting the inner joy of a creative musician. The flipper here is that if we support what develops creativity, the technical levels actually become better, not the other way around. Think of that. Creative people know this. Our society’s advancements never take place in isolation from an energetic, improvised, creative environment and a formalised environment. Advancement in music needed both to happen, the local musicians bustling away with each other, improvising, playing at get togethers and concerts, and the pieces of paper that published the Beethoven Symphonies. Without that publication, music stagnated for centuries. And where did the printing press come from? I bet you it was seeded as a creative act. We need both improvisation, creativity, and formalisation to move forward. I think there is something worth thinking about here, even though I have not furhter developed these realisations or thoughts.

1 December 2021

There are two parties involved with IT projects, namely the service provider (you) and the stakeholder (client). There is an appropriate integration between these two parties that produces good outcomes. This means there are responsibilities on both sides.

For example, all projects use task lists, often seen in Excel Spreadsheets. We review the list noting who has reasonability for each line item, including ours and the clients. It is usual to assign tasks and agree to meet deadlines so the project can move ahead.

Understanding how we communicate together is part of a necessary process. This removes confusion or uncertainty around directions and tasks, both at high and low level.

We need skills and experience to execute and deliver a project, not forgetting things like testing and post support or maintenance, bringing together fundamental principles across a range of specialists. For example, the Business Analyst, IT Architect, Technical Writer, Project Manager, each of whom has a set of known best practices and business principles.

What is a business principle?

As one example, when a company intends to take over another company, it investigates the other company using what we call “due diligence”. This removes assumptions about the company, particularly with the health and financial status. It ensures one is able to manage the immediate extent of ongoing work the company provides to the public after a takeover. If there is no diligence, there is a failure – not just a small failure or potential risk, but a real failure.

What is best practice?

An example could be that an IT team examines the requirement for a new project’s data backup, creating what we call a Disaster Recovery Backup plan, which is different to a standard daily backup. If there is a disaster and no previous best practice, it may be impossible to restore an IT system from the standard backup. Even if a disaster never occurs, it is best practice to do the DR backup.

Best IT practices are usually up to the individual to explore, find and examine. They come from different sources, such as formal training, papers, subscriptions, forums, textbooks, dialogue, seminars, developers, experience and so on. It is healthy to have a network of sources and people.

But how do we design a project, small or large?

There is a methodology and design team or individual(s) somewhere at play. Large projects may use specialist software to develop costings, with a design team instructing how things will be done due to the scale of work.

A small project uses less stringent methods, It is readily manageable and does not have the resources or need to warrant fully fledged functional specifications or time sheets etc.

Either way, there is work behind the scenes that should be following best practice and business principles.

There are people who do not know about such things, not having been taught by example, mentored or trained. If having been placed into poor environments an employee may learn bad practices or simply be in the absence of proper practices.

If an environment is poor, things may only be perceived as needing to function without other contexts. Several people may therefore move towards least effort and extent of work. This can move into negative directions impacting quality, integrity and reliability. It can spiral into an unethical culture or illegal activities. If people move about good areas of the workforce, there is better chance to see how things should be and where not to stay.

Methodologies can be restrictive, not allowing for changes during the project at those key milestones where new decisions can be made. There are those who like to follow rules and steps – conscientious, and those who do not – creative. Each are equally valid.

One of the methods I have used for projects is modelling. A business has a model, (supposedly) but a project can also have a design model that covers an end-to-end solution – considering an array of things that won’t be covered by selling a product from a brochure.

For example, our office had a Bank communications project, large in scope across all divisions that produced public documents. There would be inputs and outputs. The Bank wished to develop a solution to integrate all these departments into one system. We used an old University textbook model of data flow through sequential layers. From that place everyone jumped on board and developed the model because models work. How else could we manage something so large? The model would show how data flowed in an integrated solution. This differed to another company that looked at some of the pieces, proposing brochure-driven hardware and software as opposed to a total solution.

Even when designing a website, we should be using our pencils and paper to sketch structures. This gives us something to work with before placing elements onto the coded page.

Sometimes we get a neat idea. We may do preliminary tests that look fine, but the question is how it holds up to real life, including the load on a system and future needs for scaling up in size. Those designs engineered with most pre-planning, testing and strong structures, are those likely to maintain their use for many years to come. The priority here is around robustness, reliability, performance, integrity.

We had one project where the client had no regard for such things when we explained them. They demanded a piece of software for its supposed good looks that was known not to be best practice. That aspect of the project failed quickly after it went live and was soon scrapped. Good design has its own elegance and caters for beauty.

An example of an idea that went amiss was the use of a forum’s database feeding new data onto a live webpage. The idea was good, but it was not achievable from this software product. After going live, the news updates were not always coming through to members of the public. That same product had security weakness, causing a server instance that hosted WordPress to become corrupted. Best practice would be to house the forum on a separate server, of course. But why continue using that software if it has inherent problems? With experience this sort of problem is part of our awareness and ability to execute best practice when others would question and fall into a trap.

The way we recognise a bad deal is when a product repeats or presents ongoing issues. At some point we know it is time to stop using it. It will always cause pain from future unknowns. The same applies at a simpler level, such as with WordPress themes and plugins that should be thrown in the fire even though they are advertised as fit for purpose. Marketing is not necessarily connected to reality.

Many unexpected situations arise in IT environments. Some companies keep check on the providers they use by conducting audits. Audits can be quite demanding. The understanding is that after an audit, a company will address the noted issues, then show proof of correction afterwards. If we have no idea about these complexities, we think we are safe, which of course is an illusion. We manage issues via an issues register.

It has been surprising to see some overseas companies who face chronic production problems not even knowing about such a register and process, because the outsourcer didn’t want them to know about such business practices. We come along and say this is what we do in Australia. It is knowledge. If someone does not care about such things they will say so. We don’t want to work with those people. For our small projects, such as building a website, we may still have a piece of paper or spreadsheet that lists what needs to be addressed. When production issues arise we keep a record even if simply via e-mail.

It is commonly known that company departments only relate to each other in specific ways. A Sales Team may tell the IT Department what it will do, not without problem, but more so is the ongoing disconnect between people. Good projects appreciate communications and respect.

A vibrant culture works together, thereby opening up new and innovative solutions. A persistent bug bear is limitation. How often we view the world through a single lens, thinking defined ways, not realising there is a whole world out there that offers intuitive and exciting solutions.

The fact we mention these sorts of things means it involves experience, time, awareness, psychology and more. In essence there is no textbook that can teach these constructs, other than to encourage such development, helping people see there is more than the computer paper on a table or the person who keeps suppressing you. Discussing this provides opportunity to consider who we are, to make change. For all of this, it is a development over time as we see others who set standards we like to attain to.

As previously mentioned in my notes, one of our best characteristics as an IT person is transparency within a proper context. Some IT people refrain from initiative as they think they may lose their job, or they just like to earn their bread and butter and nothing more. For some people this is valid, but for some it is not and it only hinders. It is like an illness to see people correspondingly hide everything they do, never being transparent, always blaming someone else for a problem and lying. It is awful. I never worked that way, not once even when under pressure, and never needed to. (Of course we know about diplomacy and when not to raise issues that put fuel on the fire.)

One aspect of good career development is to go to the next level. This is harder to define. Even when building a website, we can walk away from the completed product as a good site, or we can look to spend extra time in detailing and re-writes. We may have an innovation, something we have not done before, not to be trendy, as that soon fades. We may look very carefully at developing a story for the site, its consistency and so on, basically developing a composition rather than placing data with pictures onto a page. When we have gone to the next level, we know. It is a sense of having passed that previous level. A website may look straight forward to the public, but that is because it is smooth!

As we move past difficulties we break our past barriers. This can be painful. The thing is to decide if we should do that or move on, as some things are not meant for us. For instance, we do not acquire any significant value by knowing everything about a website’s security .htaccess file. There will be something else we commit to. This means our next piece of work is easier, allowing us to focus on new challenges. We develop a sense as to what we should continue to do or stop doing.

For instance, I minimally edit photographs. After editing thousands and thousands of them, I know what overkill is. At first, I did not. Those earlier edits look dreadful on looking back but they meant everything to me at the time. I know if I start doing too many edits, the photograph has something inherently problematic, so I stop. With website design, I don’t focus on one thing as though the whole world pivots on it where everyone must be told how important it is several times. We have to get into a better position, and I think this implies a willingness to let go, as opposed to grabbing and holding.

One hobbyist photographer I knew was excellent at street photography, and truthfully, not that good at wedding photography. This does not mean wedding photography could not be developed, but it was not their main strength. The street photography was not developed or leveraged because the revenue would be from weddings. There is sufficient competition for weddings and it requires in my view at least two photographers and some specialist equipment. If we think of what gives us most vitality, we have a better direction to enjoy and trust.

When reflecting back on who I was in the workforce, I grew up with a certain amount of freedom. That is in part why I did good work. I would not work with debilitating time sheets. I would also look at who my manager would be. These were key decisions. It is without doubt that younger people I have spoken to prefer to work with good managers. There is a better priority and maturity in some of our younger population I think than there used to be.

We cannot maintain the same level of excellence all the time. Like anything, there is a healthy flow. But excellence has a cost. It may seem at times to have no relevance to revenue, but people start to notice and want work with those who have what we call value. This value is either real and proven, then recognised by others in the industry, or it is fake, which some people seem to continue advertising. It is therefore up to us as individuals to aim for honesty and good values. We do that, not someone else. It is choice. We take responsibility for that and the meaningfulness that develops. It reflects in our work.

Over the years we have opportunity to see how people behave, and how they work with computing technology. My first IT work was in computer aided design. The technology was not bedded down. We wrote our own programs and used these systems firsthand for many thousands upon thousands of mouse clicks. We could see how people struggled with other IT systems. This sense of nature goes into our work, including website navigation and content. We know what people wish to find and where to put it. If a designer does not know this, it is an absence of that awareness. The reality still exists though.

All we can do is to be encouraged to continue developing our work. People have always said to others they will never be able to do the thing they want to do, being proven wrong over and over again. People will say your project will in no way work when it does. And there are people who think they have aptitude who do not. Some of this oddity depends on our personal psychology. A drug addict will always think they are good at what they do when they are not as they live in an alternate reality. A selfish, greedy person will always be yelling at others and scheming how to make money, saying they cannot be questioned. For us though, we have true indicators of what supports our adventure in life, and facts to back up our projects.

This ongoing development allows us to identify risk, make decision, how to develop longer-term projects, reduce maintenance and more. I have had projects in use in the Australian public for up to fifteen, twenty years or more.

When you first launch into hobbyist or Sole Trader work, you will make mistakes, but that is to be expected. You may think you should do all things for all people at no cost. You don’t need to do this because you are not protected by a corporate IT team. One can take on board what one can handle, but life still take its course so that we learn what it is about. My first websites were what I considered building vehicles and just getting them onto the road. That was the accomplishment we could be proud of. Some of my creative signals are still used today, but I don’t build like I used to. As we learn we set better expectations for all involved and know how to lead projects with our clients, keeping in touch with them as the work is performed. By contrast, there are traders who lack business principles of communications, let alone proper leadership.

We may continue at length about clients, their common mistakes and what they want, but the purpose of this article is to introduce awareness on some common principles in the industry. If we have an open mind, we can evaluate what goes on around us and invent.

When asking a senior company manager about a trending change in technology, he laughed and said it would never happen. That change caused the company, in my view, to finally close its doors. Society and technology did change, and opportunity was missed. We cannot stop other people’s systemic problems or even stupidity, and no website or IT solution will necessarily address such severe conditions. Meanwhile it is good for us to develop our relationships with those who are of similar mind, principles and competence.

Overall, people love working with each other, because we can.