The creativity of anarchy


Yet another response to an item in Philip Virgo's excellent blog When IT meets Politics, where he wrote:
"The failure to use Prince 2 on big central government projects may well have cost HMG dear but its imposition on small skunk-work exercises where EU procurement rules do not apply is a major barrier to low cost innovation."

Reading this, I was reminded of these words, written by Shoshana Zuboff, in tribute to the work of the late Professor Claudio Ciborra:

"When things fall apart, we turn to the ‘red light district of the organisation’ for the nomads, misfits and undervalued craftsmen with enough common sense, practical intelligence, breadth of experience, and sheer self-confidence to ‘paste up’ what’s needed right here, right now. We live in the illusion of institutionalized control, but these free radicals pilot us home. That’s when we learn the lesson: the marginal is central. We cannot survive, let alone be successful, without the freedom, playfulness, resourcefulness and resilience that are routinely and universally squeezed out of The Plan."

(Ciborra disclosed: aletheia in the life and scholarship of Claudio Ciborra, European Journal of Information Systems (2005) 14, pp 470-473)


I'm not even sure about the big projects. The two big problems with the formal methods, in my view, are what they leave out (because they are abstractions) and their poor or non-existent ability to cope with the inevitable changes during the life of a large project.