Don't Hit the Iceberg

A decade ago, developers built information-sharing software by writing a lot of custom code in a single code base, then adding layers of caching. Now we build information systems: interdependent software and services, data platforms, and event streams.

In systems thinking circles, a common model is The Iceberg. At the top, visible above the waterline, are the things that happen. Events (like bugs and outages) and patterns that reinforce them. At the bottom, down deep, are our mental models -- the concepts we draw from when we build software systems.

I've seen many software-to-systems (aka "digital transformation") initiatives fail. They hit this Iceberg and sink spectacularly. What do we do when that happens? We double down on our traditional approaches.

Real transformation can only happen when we go deep into the structures of our collective thinking. Architecture, in the systems age, is not just Kubernetes. It is engaging our mental models and working together to transform them.

Our thinking designs our architecture. Scaling up our linear thinking cannot resolve systems challenges. We need to shift to systems thinking.

Diana Montalion

Mentrix: Principal

New York City, New York, United States


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