Information Archaeology: Understanding Historical Design Decisions in Legacy Software

11c39689febc54c671a68d9bf693af87?s=47 Stuart Curran
September 27, 2013

Information Archaeology: Understanding Historical Design Decisions in Legacy Software

The dark matter of the IA universe can be found in the kinds of internal software tools routinely found within large organisations. Often poorly conceived and implemented, these tools are nonetheless used on daily basis by long suffering employees.

The nature of these tools is often bound up in organisational politics and decision-making in ways that seem incredibly anachronistic when compared to the advances that have been made in the design of consumer software.

An important step for anyone tasked with redesigning internal tools is to understand why they were designed the way they were.

IA provides a rich and varied toolkit that can be used to map and identify historical mistakes in the design of legacy systems and supports an "archaeological" exploration revealing how poor decisions manifest themselves in an organisation's tools.

(Presented as a Lightning talk at Euro IA 2013)

http://scriptogr.am/schmo/post/information-archaeology

11c39689febc54c671a68d9bf693af87?s=128

Stuart Curran

September 27, 2013
Tweet

Transcript

  1. Information Archaeology Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 27th September

    2013
  2. The software that UX forgot about The dark matter of

    enterprise IT Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  3. Legacy Systems Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA

    2013 - 27th September 2013
  4. Software Stratification .NET Java iOS Android ASP Perl IE8 IE6

    IE7 Safari Firefox Scala Objective C Ruby on Rails Java Fortran COBOL Chrome Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  5. Study the Traps Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro

    IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  6. IA Tools and Thinking Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @

    Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  7. Company Website Colour Country Language Location Accesories Product Store Size

    SKU Name Tinted Ready Mix Palette Roomset Tester Order Delivery Payment Account Story Promotion Inspiration Content Brand Collection Article Owns Runs In Type of Related to Contains Has In With In Has Sold in Sold in Related to Generic Has unique Has Has multiple Has unique Available in Contains Used in Contains Available as Requires Used in Available as Has Stored in Placed for Has specific Scheduled for Has base Relates to a Service type Product Resiliency type Connection Type has resiliency supports Pricing Type Pricing Scenario Access Speed Customer Type is applicable to Country is available in has Usage Scenario has Pricing System is priced by VOIP supports CPE supplied with Routing Type has SLA Contention Ratio has uses supports supports is recommended for guaranteed by Domain Models Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  8. ape.intra.bt.com popup APE 3.0 Home My Customer / Sites Profile

    My Quotes Create My Active Quotes My Shared Quotes My Archived Quotes My Expired Quotes Rejected Recalled Uploaded Files Search Quote Number Quote History Change Role My Groups standard template Add Customer / Site collaborate.bt.com APE Mass Site Configurator modal Select Run Mode modal Generate Quote Group Sort Filter Quote Number Quote Number Quote Number APE 3.0 Full Price Summary Down- load popup Line Item History Customize commercial view popup popup View alternate configuration s popup Select download preference Retrieve Excel file My Groups Filter Share/ transfer quote Archive quote My Groups Reactivate quote Filter email Comments Status Submit to workflow team Install Risk Status Rental Risk Status User comments Word doc Generic Caveats Quote- specific Caveats Update Line Item Comments Autoselect View options Add site Share/Transfer if results > 100 Realtime Offline continue to My Active Quotes If = Motor accidents Manual lookup 1. Vehicle details 2. Vehicle usage 3. Vehicle ownership 1. Personal details 2. Claims & convictions 3. Driving history 4. Additional driver 1. Policy details 2. Contact & login details Your quotes Modifications Do you know reg details? Enter reg number Manufacturer Model Registration year and letter Number of doors and style Transmission Engine capacity Trim Select vehicle Imported Immobiliser? Choose immobiliser type Tracking device Right/left hand drive Car seats Car value Modified? When did you buy? What do you use for? Who uses for business? Annual mileage Calculator Weekdays Weekends Other Where kept during day? Where kept during night? Overnight at home? Overnight address Use any other vehicles? Choose vehicle type Registered keeper? Company name Choose legal owner Add person Relation Title Firstname Lastname Date of birth Same address? Title Firstname Lastname Date of birth Marital status Own your home? Children under 16? Address Employment status Job title? Industry? Why not working? How long in UK? Motor accidents? Motor convictions? Who was driving? Who was at fault? Injuries? Date of incident? Type of damage? Claim made? Known amount Motor convictions What was conviction for? Date of conviction? Penalty points? Number of points Resulting fine? Amount of fine Resulting ban? Length of ban Non-motoring convictions Type of licence How long? When did you get? Additional qualifications ? Please select? Medical conditions? When? Insurance declined? Spoilers/ bodykits Body modificatins Paintwork/ stickers Suspensions/ steering Wheels/tyres Engine/ transmission Brakes Accessories Relation Title Firstname Lastname Date of birth Main driver? Type of cover? How pay? When start? Voluntary excess NCD years Named driver experience Years of named driver experience How did you earn? Email Re-type email Main telephone number Agree to contact Agree to terms Receiving quotes Results More details Your shortlist Change cover type Type of theft? What was claim made for? What was claim made for? Why so many options here? Hidden functionality This flow seems complicated What does this system do? Maps and Diagrams Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  9. Naming Things Correctly Information architecture is the only field I'm

    aware of that is concerned with the structural integrity of meaning. Jorge Arango Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/achew/3987039984
  10. Confusing Codenames A.P.E. W.A.S.P. Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @

    Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  11. Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 -

    27th September 2013
  12. In Defence of the Org Chart Information Archaeology - Lightning

    Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  13. “Why'd it have to be S.N.A.K.E.s?” Information Archaeology - Lightning

    Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  14. Cynefin Framework for SenseMaking Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @

    Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  15. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat

    it. George Santayana Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro IA 2013 - 27th September 2013
  16. Cheers @stuartcurran scurran@thoughtworks.com Information Archaeology - Lightning Talk @ Euro

    IA 2013 - 27th September 2013