Orcmid's Lair status 


Symbols of Trust

Symbol of Trust

I have been searching for a symbol that signifies trust relationships as they apply to trustworthiness in software.  I settled on a simple symbol consisting of a cyclic geometric shape around the image of a handshake.

It became very difficult to hold onto my vision of what TROST and the TROSTing idea supply until I found a single symbol that gave voice to my concerns and interests in championing open-system trustworthiness.

I confess that the symbol also confronts me with all of the ways that I am unreliable and careless in managing my commitments.  There's a chasm for me to cross and this project brings up every gap as I'm tempted to deflect trustworthiness to something technical and away from how slippery I be at making, managing, and keeping promises.

The symbol is a keeper.  The important work remains.

The symbol is a fusion of several elements:

  • Existence of a trust relationship and building of trustworthiness is symbolized by the handshake.
  • The management of commitments via conversations for action is represented by the four stages around the ellipse.  This underscores the collaborative nature of complex coordinated efforts such as development of software systems.
  • The Shewhart-Deming cycle of learning and improvement, part of practically every software-development process model, is also signified in the ellipse.  That represents for me the engagement of producers and adopters in the development of products, and the trust that leads to powerful engagement and partnership. 
  • The outward spiraling is indicative of the progression of deliverables, accomplishment, and learning, with building of trust over time.  It reflects the current interest in agile development, early experience, and the cooperative/collaborative introduction of technology that supports what people are up to.  For me it also signifies the unending work of committed participants to develop their self-trust, confidence and willingness to fail in expanding their capacities and competencies for big undertakings.  It's the courageous leap into what we don't know and can't predict and where innovations and breakthroughs occur.

It has become clear in exploring ideas of trust that trustworthiness in artifacts is not about the artifact.  Software is not trustworthy.  It's just software.  The hardware is just hardware. The computer system doesn't care and has no volition in the matter of our relying on it.  Where we see trustworthiness in software is in evoking the producer's caring, by design, for our purposes and success.  (It’s that attention and care that I speak of as TROSTing.)  Trustworthiness is affirmed in the ways the producer steps in to resolve breakdowns that we may encounter (a reminder I’m grateful to Hal Macomber for). 

We do not negotiate with the computer when there is a breakdown, even though there may be support for resolution of problems incorporated in the software.  Ultimately we resort to the producer of the product, not the artifact, for resolving the breakdown.  We rely on others, whether for rescue or remedy.  Even when we say "Word lost my document," we really mean that Microsoft exposed us to that risk in how the artifact is designed to work.  The next time some software or computer-related service isn't working for you, listen for who you hold responsible.  Is it really the program?  Or is it how you feel carelessly dealt with by some anonymous (though named) party? 

The symbol of trust says, for me, how I as a producer (of words or software or any other fulfillment of a commitment) am called to be careful—full of care—and have the courage to trust myself and those I deal with in my being trustworthy for them.

{tags:   }

"It became very difficult to hold onto my vision of what TROST and the TROSTing idea supply until I found a single symbol that gave voice to my concerns and interests in championing open-system trustworthiness."

With all due respect, I think you misspelled the last word. It should read trostworthines...!LOL
How are you Dennis. I see you've been hidding from the energetic and full of spunk crowds...LOL I don't blame you I do the same thing.
I appreciate the post and it's content. Trust is a scarce but valuable commodity these days, at least in my book, but hopefully we are evolving and creating and manufacturing and selling and offering goods and services that will give value to it, rather than take from it.
Have a great day!
Post a Comment
Construction Zone (Hard Hat Area) You are navigating Orcmid's Lair.

template created 2002-10-28-07:25 -0800 (pst) by orcmid
$$Author: Orcmid $
$$Date: 06-02-03 22:46 $
$$Revision: 2 $