Ergo derives from the Greek word έργο, which is most frequently translated as a noun for ‘work’ but also often refers to what is produced, both the project and the product. Nautical is originally derived from the Greek ναυτικός, an adjective denoting ‘skill in seafaring’, though ‘-naut’ has the modern usage of one who has skills for navigating the prefixed domain.
We continuously participate in a complex and shifting landscape of how technology will be produced, delivered, and consumed. These shifts are the consequence of building tools, we change the technology and the technology changes us. The shift happening now is undeniable but understanding how to proceed is not always clear. This particular technology shift is not just happening but is accelerating. Agile, Cloud, DevOps, Serverless, SRE, Platform, Edge; there is no shortage of new words, but the individual and organizational capacity to critically examine their current context and purposefully change appears to be in short supply. Changing too much too fast or slowly not changing enough, are the Scylla and Charybdis of leadership, dangerous extremes leading to potential disaster. A naive search of these topics confirms that for all the triumphs declared from the stage in conference talks, more organizations are struggling than succeeding. (‘Digital Transformation’ failure estimates range from 60% to +90%, but definitions for success are loose and self serving, and we don’t agree with a lot of the advice so we’ll leave confirming this assertion as an exercise for the reader.)
We’ve given the conference talks. We’ve also struggled. We believe the systems of work matter more than the words. The skills gap is real but the biggest gaps are often in the corner office. The too common “find ‘better people’ theory”, abdicates the outcome to a search strategy that can rarely be executed, and most organizations won’t produce ‘better work’ with ‘better people’ because of the prevailing systems in the workplace. Modernization efforts pontificate about the cost of ‘technical debt,’ but we believe that is usually overshadowed by the process debt. Which workloads run where or getting the workforce certified in a methodology, will not impact the system as much as modernizing fit-for-purpose workflows.
The Ergonautic mission is to advance the theory and practice of humans working together with technology. There has to be the first step. Rarely the best step but necessary for there to be a second and third and so on. This is the first sharing of our thoughts and stories as Ergonautic.