It is not uncommon to hear the parable about the blind people and the elephant when learning about systems. It’s a story about a group of blind people who have never come across an elephant before, and who learn and imagine what an elephant is by touching it.
As I spend more time running Bytesize Architecture Sessions and thinking about systems in general, I am coming to the (not so surprising?) conclusion that the act of successfully sharing knowledge is an inextricable part of building systems.
If we needed a metaphor for the act of building systems, it would be something like: A group of blind people imagine something similar to an elephant, maybe someone even heard about elephants once, and they only have the shadow of an elephant to guide them.
After some consideration they decide they want to create an elephant, it takes time and effort and then at some point “it goes live”.
When a group of people decide to start building a system, and as they continue, what they are building will be a bit of a mirage. It will be not clear and they are only likely to succeed in building something useful if they communicate and collaborate on what their building.
We need collaboration to bring something to life, and even more to keep it alive.