I’m sure you are now wondering “what the heck is he all about now… a post title containing nothing but a number…?”
I got a text message containing nothing but this number earlier today, from my pal and co-boat-owner Micke. Even though there was no further information in the message, I nevertheless immediately knew the semantics of the otherwise somewhat cryptic message.
How can that be, you ask…?
The explanation is simple: shared context.
Because I know the sender of the message very well, i.e. we have a deep shared context (in this specific instance – sailracing) , a tiny amount of data transmitted between us is capable of transmitting lots of information, in this particular case the information that our sail racing boat, a B&R 23, had now received its new national handicapping yardstick (SRS) certificate, with a yardstick number of 1.303.
What’s this got to do with systems- and software development, you say…? Actually quite a lot, at least if you are thinking about “the SelfOptimizingAgileOrganization“: for any organization wanting to become truly Agile, a key characteristic is “transparency”, i.e. having access to common, complete and realtime information about the “state” of the overall “production machinery”, i.e. the temperature of the organization. Without such a shared context, it will be very difficult for the organization to pull in the same direction, or to operate in and effective and efficient way. Thus, transparency is an enabler for a shared context, and a shared context is necessary for effective (doing the right thing) and efficient (doing the thing right) operation.