Yesterday I finished reading "Lean Brain Management" by Gunter Dueck. A book about the future which already has begun. A future we either might not want to live in if we don’t change what we are today, or a future which will change us into some(one)thing different. From the very last sentence of the book I conclude that even the author does not want to live in that world he is describing.
Two key messages from the book:
My friend and his family visited us on Saturday. His kids are the best example: they definitely prefer some artificial food over any what my wife and I would call real food. Once my wife made mashed potatoes out of potatoes, you know, the real stuff with milk added where you really can taste the real potatoes in it. They didn’t like it. They are used to the artificial mashed potatoes you can buy in the super market, this yellow powder to which you add some water and then you get what is sold as mashed potatoes. A mashed potatoes fake. Everyone can prepare it, and obviously ( for most people ) it is even better than what you could produce on your own with real ingredients and a lot of effort. Fakes are the future !
And fakes are easy to produce. The procedure printed on the back of the package is easy to follow, a four-year-old could do it: put the powder in a bowl, add water, stir, done, enjoy. Simple steps, no training is needed to execute those. This principle needs to be applied to our entire life and to the business of every company. Business processes are designed in such a smart way that no smart people are needed anymore, except the few who would design those business processes and those intelligent systems behind. We have to achieve the ultimate level of specialism.
We don’t need IT architects anymore who know the entire portfolio of our and partners and competitors products. In the future you might become an expert how to install DB/2 version 9.5 on an AIX 6.1 machine. That’s it. Your training will take 4 hours and then you ( or everyone else ) can do the job. We don’t need skilled software developer who “speak” a lot of programming languages and can do software design as well, and testing and documentation of course. In the future programming is not needed anyway, you just sick a view prepared components together and that’s it. Or you become the expert for “for”-loops in Perl. Whenever a “for”-loop is needed somewhere in some perl code they call you. We don’t need project manager anymore who need month and years of training and expertise. We might not do projects anyway anymore, but if we do you might be the expert on how to fill out a change request and they will call you into the project if a change request needs to be filled out.
Intelligent people are bad. They make things complicated and cost a lot of money. To be competitive we have to get rid of them.
I don’t know whether Gunter Dueck has written a book about SOA without knowing it. At least I can not recall that I have seen that acronym anywhere in the book. Wouldn’t SOA be the perfect platform to achieve Lean Brain Management (LBM) ? The more we take out those steps in a business process requiring human intervention, or the more we simplify those, the closer we get to the LBM world. And if we built all smarts into the business process like services disocvering each other automatically and connecting in the right way to execute the business process, or like a SOA Supervisor who keeps track of everything and makes corrections when needed, then we are almost there !
Are we there yet or even close ? The author has his doubts, and I have my doubts too, especially after I have just seen at the end of last quarter when I had to work over the weekend and stay in a manufacturing site in Hungary to help supporting their processes and logistic systems how many intelligent people have to stand by during those critical days to ensure everything goes smooth and to correct all the unforeseen situations and complicated problems coming up.
LBM can be applied everywhere in our life and the second part of the books describes how LBM can be ( or already is ?) applied to military, science, sex, health, psychology, laws, religion, politics, and management of course.
May be human beings will always fight against LBM. May be it is against our nature. May be we are not willing to give up our brain and what we can do with it. But wouldn’t it bee the smartest thing to do to use our brain to finally get rid of it ?