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He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool—shun him!
He who knows not and knows that he knows not, is unlearned—teach him!
He who knows and knows not that he knows, is asleep—awaken him!
He who knows and knows that he knows, is enlightened—follow him!
An Arab Proverb
Isabel Lady Burton (1831-1896) in
"The Life of Captain Sir Richard F. Burton"
Software Development = Knowledge Acquisition = Ignorance Reduction
Software is not a product, it's a medium for storing knowledge (see The Case for a New Business Model).
Therefore, software development is not a product producing activity--it is a knowledge acquiring activity.
Knowledge is just the other side of the coin of ignorance, therefore software development is an ignorance-reduction activity.
There are five levels or "Orders of Ignorance". They are (starting from zero--computer people always count from zero):
0th Order Ignorance (0OI)—Lack of Ignorance
1st Order Ignorance (1OI)—Lack of Knowledge
2nd Order Ignorance (2OI)—Lack of Awareness
3rd Order Ignorance (3OI)—Lack of Process
4th Order Ignorance (4OI)—Meta Ignorance
These Five Orders of Ignorance play an
tremendously important role in systems development. For example: our
job is the reduction of 2OI.
As another example: all systems processes and methodologies are actually 3OI processes whose job is to convert 2OI into 1OI (and more rarely 0OI).
2OI and 3OI explain most of our problems in systems development. Our management systems are set up to deal only with 0OI and 1OI (the application of what we already know), they don't properly deal with the activity of uncovering what we don't know and are rather inadequate for the modern world of systems development. This is mostly because of most organizations suffer form 4OI.
Support from an unlikely source:
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to
because as we know, there are known knowns—there are things we know we know…
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know…
But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know.”
Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense.
Department of Defense News Briefing. Feb 12 2002
Thanks Don, but I beat you by a few years on this one. Also, shame about that Iraq War thing.