Thursday 24 March 2005

Wicked IT Problems

Ok, let me say first that this isn't what you think...

A thread on the ACT KM forum (a knowledge management discussion group) from the last few days talking about wicked problems reminded me that I wrote a short article on wicked information technology problems:

"People often throw their arms up at computers because as much as information technology can help us, it often causes problems that are difficult or time consuming to fix. The fact is information technology is complex and full of what is known in some circles as 'wicked' problems. A wicked problem has complex origins and typically the solution will only appear when we solve the problem. In other words, wicked problems are a bit like the chicken and egg paradox – we will not know the solution to a wicked problem until we find it."

Anyway, I've republished it on my Website and you can download it here (PDF, 77KB). (Please contact me if you would like a copy of this short article)

The intended audience for this piece was small business owners and managers but it might be of interest to anyone who is struggling to understand why computer systems don't always work as they expect them and why it isn't always straight forward to fix them. One of my recommendations, other than locking down and simplifying systems, is to develop wicked problem solving skills (or find someone who has them).

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