During the last three years, the allmende.io infrastructure migrates into the solidary librehosting collective ecobytes. It is evolving out of multiple so-called Snowflake Servers into an infrastructure as code. Within this process we are gaining experience in Development and Operations, in short DevOps, of the various components that we bring to life as running code.
While there is no single truth about how to run web services, nor how to develop them, we are aware of exemplary patterns. Further on, an understanding of technical processes as being inherintly social makes us focus on the techno-social architectures we are building: Not only do we create software for users, but, as maintainers, we are also human beings after all. Hence the practice itself turns into an object of learning and adaptation.
Unfortunately more than often it is time for a change, but no time to change: Existing habits within a team are deemed good enough for now. In the same time resource and knowledge constraints limit projections of the future to the already known and comforting. Where changing one's own practice means to kill your darlings, resistance to the new and unknown is likely to be inevitable. How can we approach this paradox?
"making the problem the focus instead of the solution"
As humans our situational capacity to perceive, know and react is limited. Engaging in collective processes helps us to highlight and overcome these limitations. Yet over time we equip ourselves with tools and techniques applicable in varying contexts. Up to the point that only those techniques appear valid to solve a given problematic, which we already understand and presumably control. The solution becomes a first-class citizen, while the actual, problematic situation fades back.
The more we stick to and defend a habitual pattern, the more likely it is error-prone and self-validating. To get it out of this vicious circle, it can be advisable to take a step back and reevaluate the originating contextual forces next to known applications in the wild. What we will find is a fine-grained depiction of the reasons why a solution was favourable in a given situation. Therefore the formulation of the given situation determines a lot in which domains of knowledge we allow our minds to crawl for extended contextualisations and possible reactions.
Consciously avoiding the confirmation bias of the described law of the instrument asks from us a high degree of discipline, selflessness and the ability to scope the bigger picture. As long as we don't limit our expectations and preoccupations to the already known, we are able to adapt and participate in ever changing environments. This critique is in itself a practice which we can learn and embody. In a collective it appears more easy to establish such a culture, as we can be repeatingly reminded by our peers. The generation and curation of intersubjective value thus remains a process of constant self-questioning.