Seeing Scaffolding Everywhere

Nick Wynja on Hack / Make:

Taking a scaffold-like approach is about creating the right levels of structure around the work you do to let it properly flow. You neither want to constrain your creativity by following weighty methods nor do you want to become overwhelmed by the work you have to do by alleviating yourself from process.

I love Nick's analogy of construction scaffolding being like the systems and process that we use to get work – of any kind – done. It's subtle, elegant and worth your time to read.

For me, the beautiful thing about scaffolding is that it's re-usable. A crew can remove the scaffolding from a worksite, load it in a truck and take it to the next job. It doesn't require (much) modification to work again and again. In the same way, when you build scaffolding for your work, build with re-usability in mind.

All too often, I see others labour over a precise solution (technical or otherwise) to the problem they're trying to solve without considering how they might use what they create  in the future. This applies equally to a spreadsheet or an enterprise IT strategy.

Approach everything you build, make and do with a sense of the unknown so that when the next job comes along, your scaffolding is ready to use.