Esperanto, Elvish and Klingon

    Programmers do not solve business problems. They create and modernize software products according to customer’s specifications. Convincing everyone, and myself, including that this is the solution to the problems of business.

    When you arrive at a car service, do you write a TK? Of course, many of you understand cars, and among my friends there are guys who can easily disassemble and reassemble the gearbox. But, nevertheless, most of us set the task in the form of “something knocking when I drive faster than 40 km / h” or “it blows badly from the deflectors, maybe the air conditioner, or I don’t know what is there.”

    If a master at a service station said something like “say specifically what needs to be done with your car,” would you continue to use his services? I think no. Most of us buy a car not to understand it, and not only blondes from anecdotes, or new Russians who (in the same anecdotes) change a car when an ashtray is filled do so.

    In working with programmers, the business has no choice. And the further, the worse. The craftsmen-enthusiasts have not yet translated, for whom solving the issue on their own is a matter of honor, but the universal division of labor and the dominance of legal-bureaucratic approaches to the matter quickly and reliably kills such enthusiasm.

    If you think about how a business representative can - a director, department head, salesperson, accountant, etc. - to make a technical task for the development of a software product? It is clear that some document will be born by joint efforts, but what will be its quality? Even if you have intelligent architects who can analyze business requirements and translate them into the language of programmers, can you be sure that they have understood correctly what a business needs?

    The requirements that are voiced by the business are clear to him. The technical task, which was written by programmers for business requirements, he is no longer clear. Business simply believes programmers that the planned improvements will solve its problems.

    Also, you believe the master in the service station, when he says "you need to fill the air conditioner and change the filter in the cabin, and it will blow normally." But in the case of a car service the risk is small - a couple of hours of time and several thousand rubles, and the result will be visible immediately.

    In the case of programmers, the risk is always higher - the time is longer and the budgets are fatter. And whatever the result, the business will have to accept it, because in most cases it pays for not only development, but also implementation. The result of the work of programmers at the time of acceptance is already sitting inside the business, and it can not be thrown out without serious consequences.

    It would be great, of course, if programmers created a rejected system that a business would look at from the side, and decide whether to take it or not. In this case, all the risks would lie on the programmers. But it happens very rarely, because programmers have a business too, no matter how cool.

    Work business will have to take one way or another. With reservations, with a list of additional requirements, but - to accept. And enjoy.

    The language barrier

    Between business and programmers there is a border - a language barrier. Business does not understand the language of information systems, programmers do not understand the language of business. In order to somehow exist, and at least do something, both sides invented a surrogate language - some analogue of Esperanto, equally understandable and incomprehensible to both parties.

    Esperanto, in general, is not bad, but very poor - it has a very small vocabulary, i.e. lexicon. A business can say in Esperanto: “I want this form so that there are two buttons, a table with goods, there is a nomenclature and prices in it”, or “I want a report that shows overdue receivables”. The term “overdue receivables” in Esperanto is not very well defined, so programmers will ask several clarifying questions in order to transfer the task as a result to their own, Klingon.

    A business cannot express all its needs in Esperanto, only a very meager set of them. It is impossible to set a task for programmers to “optimize accounting so that two accountants can be dismissed” or “make it so that there are no deficiencies”. Esperanto, as your communication gateway, cannot convey the meaning of these tasks to Klingon.

    Although, we all know examples when similar tasks were solved using automation tools. So, in principle, the Klingon language is able to express such complex constructions. But how does this work?

    Rarely, but this happens - a Klingon business representative knows. First, he may be a former programmer. I, and you, met such people in various positions - chief accountants, financial directors, managers, salespeople, suppliers even came across. Secondly, there are people - mostly directors and owners of small businesses, who, due to natural curiosity, have penetrated and continue to develop their knowledge in the field of information technology. But these are rather exceptions.

    The rule is to translate the “high poetry” of business requirements into the language of primitives - forms, reports, processing, documents, directories, registers, web services, pages, etc.

    I’ll say at once that I do not in any way detract from the beauty of Klingon. Poetry and beauty in it even more than in, say, the elven language of business. But poetry does not pass through the gateway, only primitives.

    Try, for fun, to translate into a google translate into English a poem, for example, like this: The

    storm darkens the sky,
    Whirling snow twists.
    She will howl like a beast, She
    will cry like a child.

    What happens?

    The storm darkness covers the sky,
    Whirlwinds whirling.
    will cry like a child.

    I know English badly, so for me this translation looks like Klingon. Well, it seems to be true. Some words are familiar, the lines and commas seem to be the same. Probably the translation is correct. How to check? Let's try back, from English to Russian:

    Storm darkness covers the sky,
    Whirlwinds whirl.
    Then, when she mourns the beast,
    It will cry like a baby.

    Something is wrong ... The gateway does not work very well, although the general attitude seems to be transmitted correctly. But in the details, the meaning, the poetry of the text has lost almost everything.

    An example, of course, is from the realm of humor, but in our Esperanto everything happens in much the same way. It seems everything is clear, the theme is battered, and everyone remembers the beautiful picture from the tree swing. But live somehow? What is wrong, what is attached?


    The consequences of the language barrier are, in fact, terrible for both parties. Almost all the automation that is now being produced is the result of the implementation of primitives, elementary commands, boring tasks and small goals.

    No poetry, works of art, wow effects and mutual adoration of business and IT. Speaking on the ground, there are no IT solutions that really help a business.

    There are cool IT solutions, technologies, frameworks, originally created in Klingon. But very few people manage to translate them into elvish. Managerial tricks turn these decisions into business, but they still remain in Klingon - complex, incomprehensible, beautiful, like spaceships from the future. Only it is not clear what to do with them.

    There are also cool business solutions created without the use of IT. There are legends in the business environment about managers who have “lifted off their knees”, “have streamlined processes”, “have created a brilliant supply chain” - no less fascinating than about developers of cool IT technologies. But in the middle, at the border, in unity - there are very few solutions.

    As a result, business is dissatisfied with programmers, although it has to endure them as an inevitable evil. There is in fact accounting and tax accounting, and the state, which enters into the necessity of maintaining all this bureaucracy. There are “boy rules”, such as the need to have a website, ip-telephony, social media and an EDI account. Small, boring, giving nothing technology.

    But programmers are moving further away from the business, are closing down and complicate the already incomprehensible Esperanto. God grant, if you have enough enthusiasm for creative expression in your Klingon, so that your soul can find at least some way out, somewhere in between. And in the main time - the next attempt to somehow automate all this nonsense.

    Both sides suffer, and both sides blame each other for their misfortunes. Although, no, they don’t blame them anymore - they got used to it somehow, they more or less remembered this Esperanto, and they already believe that this is how it should be. Does everyone have it? If everyone, then we are all right. Well, you say, it's all clear without you. To do what?

    Yes, you already know what to do. Learn languages. And improve Esperanto.

    Learn languages

    In order for two carriers of different languages ​​to be able to talk normally, meaningfully and interestingly, someone must know two languages ​​- one’s own and one’s companion. The question is who should be the first to "move over."

    The first option - let the business learns Klingon. How do you like that? If you are a programmer, then you probably prefer this option. Although, no, this is fraught with time - if a business understands information technology, then whatever you may say, you will have to work for real. Now you, in one way or another, can hide - both opportunities, and solutions, and jambs.

    But this option, purely in terms of efficiency, is no good. Too much to know. If you, again, are a programmer, then you will agree: even you, that you wouldn’t think about yourself there, know only a small part of IT. It is just that knowledge in the field of information technologies is born faster than a person is capable of digesting, no matter how many of his foreheads he has.

    You can say - well, let the business not know the details, but can it walk along the tops? And maintain the relevance of this knowledge. Of course, it can only be the same Esperanto. This we have already passed.

    It is much easier to do the opposite - a programmer can learn the language of business.

    I called the language of business elvish, although it would be necessary, in fact, to call it Greek, because it is a dead language that hardly develops. Okay, let there be an elvish - did these guys swim away from Middle-earth for a long time?

    Everything, or almost everything that is useful in the language of business, has long been invented. Of course, new types of business, new ways of interaction, new products, or even product classes are emerging, but the basic concepts remain in place.

    First of all, these are processes. Everything you need to know about processes has long been invented - back in the twentieth century. All modern, and not so, techniques - for example, the theory of restrictions, controlling, Lean, Scrum, etc. - These are only variations, patterned processes, or patterns for drawing new processes. In principle, the essence of processes does not change - actions, conditions, subprocesses. By the way, all these are concepts that are well understood by programmers.

    Any business math is also well absorbed by programmers. Accounting, management, international and tax accounting, profits and losses, financial flows, different methods of assessing the state of a business are just different formulas that count the same figures based on other numbers.

    Control systems, as a subclass of processes, are also not complex. Moreover, the business of management systems itself is not very versed. It is easy to check - try to find at least one management process in your company. Of course, if you have an ISO implemented, that is, there is such a process - “Organization Management”, but we will not consider it, it’s just a bureaucratic piece of paper. Find instructions for the manager, where it says what, when and how he should do. They are not there, because the creation of management systems is a relatively new area that will not emerge from the depths of management, because it will destroy it.

    More specific, at first glance, the area - the system of motivation. But, in fact, this is one of the simplest areas of knowledge in business. There are very few sample options that unsuccessfully try to implant HR in all companies, without understanding the essence of motivation.

    In business, of course, there are not only the listed areas of knowledge. For example, there are markets, products, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, etc. This knowledge can be safely left to the business, and not to study the relevant sections of the Elvish language. At least until you decide to create your own business.

    What for?

    There are two questions at once: why it is for business and why it is for programmers.

    With business it is clear. This is a vital necessity. The IT world is moving towards such a model - the integration of competences, because otherwise the conversations of the deaf with the blind will continue indefinitely.

    The business problem is often understood, but does not know the solution, does not see it. Now knows and sees. It remains only to properly organize this process - teaching programmers elvish language. You can do it yourself, but there will be little confusion. To teach Klingon to the Elvish, you need to know both languages, but this is not. Although, Tarzan somehow taught. If you remember, read in English, and speak in French.

    Why programmers? Well, first of all, if a business in which programmers sit, will competently take up the matter, then they will have nowhere to go. Is that to go to another job, where they have not yet heard about newfangled trends.

    But you can rearrange the proactive start in the IT department. After all, no one forbids programmers to develop competences in related fields? For example, to learn some elvish. And then, between times, announce, and it is better to put into practice their new skills. Business, evaluating the benefits, will make bilingual programmers the standard in their company. At the same time, and expelled pseudo-translators, like business analysts.

    We just need to understand that business automation now, in Esperanto, is just a bubble. And it will burst only on one side - where important representatives of the Klingon language are sitting. Business is not going anywhere, he lived for centuries and will live on. On the scale of business history, there is simply a small segment, which is called “the fascination with information technologies,” which began fun and interesting, and turned into a global fraud.

    Sooner or later, the business will find a way out. It is better to give him this way out - advantageous to both elves and Klingons.


    You, in terms of the article, most likely speak Klingon. I will try to write a few phrases in Elvish, and you, if you wish, practice the translation - either in Klingon, or at least in Elvish.

    “I want to know how automation affects changes in my business.”

    “What can be automated to reduce the number of accountants?”.

    "Is it possible to do so in order to disperse all managers who do not sell anything, but only drive orders with paperwork?"

    “Can we somehow make it so that there are no deficiencies?”

    “How to get rid of the dealership department, which deals only with topics that organizes interaction with partners?”

    “Can something be done with cash gaps?”

    “How would I increase the quality of production? Now it’s just trouble. ”

    “I am terribly enraged by all the economists who prepare my reports. Can I somehow get rid of them without losing these reports? ”

    “And how much does accounting cost me? At least know the figure, I'm not talking about optimization ... ".

    “How would I, and other managers, learn about the problems in advance? So that you can respond in a timely manner. ”

    Can you translate?

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