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The Frozen Caveman Antipattern

August 08, 2017 #career

That “clickbait” headline is a reference to Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer and based on my favorite part of nealford.com • Knowledge Breadth versus Depth.  However, the most relevant part is the lead up to this pyramid, which illustrates “enhanced breadth and shrinking depth for the architect role.”

knowledge pyramid

From the article (slightly reformatted):

Mark’s pyramid illustrates how fundamentally different the role of architect compares to developer. Developers spend their whole career honing expertise, and transitioning to the architect role means a shift in that perspective, which many architects find difficult. This in turn leads to two common dysfunctions:

  • First, an architect tries to maintain expertise in a wide variety of areas, succeeding in none of them and working themselves ragged in the process.
  • Second, it manifests as stale expertise–the mistaken sensation that your outdated information is still cutting edge. I see this often in large companies where the developers who founded the company have moved into leadership roles yet still make technology decisions using ancient criteria (I refer to this as the Frozen Caveman Antipattern).

As I have been spending more time on “cloud” and “security” topics, I feel my “front-end” and “JavaScript” skills have atrophied a bit.  That’s OK for my projects because there are experts to fill the void, but it is an uneasy feeling for me.

Anyone else concerned with being classified a “Frozen Caveman?”

Frozen Caveman Lawyer


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