4 min read

32. Archaeology

Hacking your bureaucracy, UX and agile, inclusive design
"Recoding America - Why government is failing in the digital age and how we can do better" book with coffee

I've been playing with the idea of archaeology as an important thing for a while when it comes to government work. While I've written about the value of timelines to understand an organisation, I thought that I'd somehow have to lean into the work of the French philosopher Michel Foucault to maybe ground this idea (he talks a lot about philosophy as archaeology). I was wrong: there are some more pertinant references, even for government. Jennifer Pahlka's excellent book Recoding America has an entire chapter on archaeology and how tracing back a rule can reveal some surprising things that can then be challenged. (There is an example of an enterprising public sector technologist trying to understand where a tech regulation has come from and after going around a loop of several departments is sent back to his department!) And Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais's book Team Topologies talk about a reverse Conway maneuver (flipping 'Conway's Law' that an organisation's IT systems reflect its organisation chart by starting with the IT teams first).

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