Monthly Archives: November 2004

Structured vs. Unstructured Data

Darren Neimke arrived in Canberra last night so he could start out at a client site with me on Monday. We were having a chat over lunch about the applications of various pieces of technology. Darren is getting into InfoPath and SharePoint at the moment and I’ve always been a big fan of the WikiWikiWeb.

I think both of us realise that the technologies that we are passionate about don’t necessarily work in every situation – but how do you figure out that something is appropriate or not? I think there is a very coarse grouping that you can make. Structured and unstructured . . .

Work with me:

  • Expense Claim = Structured
  • New Product Idea = Unstructured?
  • Leave Form = Structured
  • This Blog Post = Unstructured
  • My Brain = Definately Unstructured
  • Bug Report = Structured (depending on who fills it out)

Thats just a simple list. But I think there is a theme in the structured data area – its business as usual stuff. Things that you can build ahead of time and expect to get an ROI on. Unstructured data is all about coping with things that are out of the ordinary. For example – I don’t have a form to log my discussions with Darren


I was thinking about some of the discussions I’ve been having lately about how the methodology (gasp – I used the M word) we are using to manage a software project doesn’t exactly conform to the organisational standard.

The funny thing is – what we are doing is currently working whereas the previous methodology (even allowing for other influences on the project) wasn’t. I’ve been in this situation before, quite often organisations buy into one particular project management methodology – they even hire experts in its application to guide their staff in its use on an ongoing basis. Its a huge $$$ investment.

Then – into my head poped a term – SunkCostDrivenMethodology. Its very similar to the SunkCostDrivenArchitecture that Martin Fowler documented. I think we have a meta-anti-pattern here.

My blog is one year old.

Wow! One year ago I decided to start a blog for both technical and personal subject matter. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started and if you look back over my history in those early months you can see I was posting fairly irregularly – maybe the content was better?

I’ve decided that I am going to celebrate by blogging for another year and encouraging some other people to start blogging. The first target is my wife (Nicola) who I think has lots of interesting things to say but (incorrectly) assumes no one wants to hear them. What should her domain name be?

Here is a list of some of my favorite posts over the past twelve months:

Thanks for coming with me on the trip!