Chapter 1. Foundations for Organizing Systems

Robert J. Glushko

1.1. The Discipline of Organizing

To organize is to create capabilities by intentionally imposing order and structure.

Organizing is such a common activity that we often do it without thinking much about it. We organize shoes in our closet, books on our book shelves, spices in our kitchen, receipts and records in tax preparation folders, and people on business projects and sports teams. Quite a few of us have jobs that involve specific types of organizing tasks. We might even have been explicitly trained to perform them by following specialized disciplinary practices. We might learn to do these tasks very well, but even then we often do not reflect on the similarity of the organizing tasks we do and those done by others, or on the similarity of those we do at work and those we do at home. We take for granted and as givens the concepts and methods used in the Organizing System we work with most often.

The goal of this book is to help readers become more self-conscious about what it means to organize resources of any type and about the principles by which the resources are organized. In particular, this book introduces the concept of an Organizing System: an intentionally arranged collection of resources and the interactions they support. The book analyzes the design decisions that go into any systematic organization of resources and the design patterns for the interactions that make use of the resources. This book is the ...

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