A warning on “tame” metaphors
Often people use metaphors to describe various aspects of SharePoint. I am guilty as charged here. One of the many that I use for SharePoint, is the metaphor of an Ikea modular storage solution to describe the new paradigm of moving from folders to document libraries, columns, views, workflow, sites, content types and the like.
But, I see a very common mistake with a lot of SharePoint metaphors that you must be careful with. People use tame metaphors for SharePoint, and this misleads.
Confused? Well consider this. There are two main types of problems in this world. Tame problems and wicked problems.
This is what a tame problem looks like according to Conklin.
A tame problem has a relatively well-defined and stable problem statement.
A tame problem has a definite stopping point, i.e. we know when the solution or a solution is reached.
A tame problem has a solution which can be objectively evaluated as being right or wrong.
A tame problem belongs to a class of similar problems which can be solved in a similar manner.
A tame problem has solutions which can be tried and abandoned.
A wicked problem on the other hand looks a little different.
A wicked problem is not understood until after formulation of a solution.
Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding a wicked problem.
A wicked problem can be explained in different ways
A wicked problem is always considered a symptom of another problem.
Constraints and resources to solve the problem change over time.
The problem is never solved.
Yeah, I know – it’s a rhetorical question, but which category do you think many SharePoint projects fall under?