Exchanging queens: Reducing complexity in IT

I love chess. And if there was a particular game that made me start loving it, it was this one:


The game was between Edward Lasker and Sir George Thomas, London (Oct 29, 1912). It went as follows:

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.e4 fxe4 7.Nxe4 b6 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Ne5 O-O 10.Qh5 Qe7 11.Qxh7+ Kxh7 12.Nxf6+ Kh6 13.Neg4+ Kg5 14.h4+ Kf4 15.g3+ Kf3 16.Be2+ Kg2 17.Rh2+ Kg1 18.Kd2 mate
The diagram above picks it up at the end of move 10. A queen sacrifice starts an eight-move forced mate, gently urging the opponent’s king forward from Row 1 to Row 8, and having the option to deliver the coup de grace with a castling. Magical.

[If you want to play the whole game out on screen, then please follow this link from AJ Goldsby, who deserves much thanks].
And it was chess that taught me to look for ways to do the Einstein thing. Keep things as simple as possible, but no simpler.
I see four distinct ways we can reduce complexity in IT by taking “portfolio” approaches to the practice of IT management within the enterprise:

  • (a) in the investment appraisal and project initiation and shutdown processes
  • (b) in the declaration, evolution and adaptation of technology standards
  • (c) in managing inventory
  • (d) in assessing the value of what has been implemented, whether by build or by buy or even both

None of these is rocket science. They represent my attempts to mash up what I have learnt over the years, happily borrowing from others’ experiences and my mistakes. I will elaborate on them at a later date, this is just to assess reader interest.


A complete aside, triggered by my experiencing the sheer beauty of the Lasker-Thomas game again. Some of you may know of an Indian cricketer named GR Viswanath. Coming off a Test sequence of 161, 44, 52, 131 and 96, he returned to the pavilion out for 7. And then 10. And as he entered the pavilion, someone asked him how come he was out that cheaply. His reply (apocryphal of course, you know my stories by now) : “The ball deserved it”.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Thanks to the BBC for the photograph. I couldn’t be bothered using the Getty Images version, it required me to get explicit permission from them beforehand whatever my reason. Digital wrongs.

One thought on “Exchanging queens: Reducing complexity in IT”

Let me know what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.