Plankers, Bob

Bob Plankers


Divison of Information Technology

2018 Session

Title: Mountains Back To Molehills: Reducing Complexity & Confusion In Our Systems
Many of us plan (or hope) to make big improvements in our systems every few years through good system design decision when we upgrade or replace them. Big changes are risky and disruptive, and we often run out of time. We also have the opportunity nearly every day to make small improvements, if we recognize them. The Law of Conservation of Complexity says that some complexity actually helps us out, because, despite what we think or say, we don’t actually want simplicity. We’ll look at dependencies and loose coupling of systems, and things we can learn from UX and software development folks. We’ll talk about the Trojan horses vendors try to give or sell us using the great lie of TCO, and how there’s no such thing as free. On top of all of it we’ll use some of our own historical systems & interesting choices to illustrate all these topics and help us find some practices to better our daily lives.


Bob has spent 22 years at the UW-Madison in a variety of roles, from support to software developer to system administrator. He currently leads a team at the UW-Madison dedicated to designing, building, and operating various forms of IT infrastructure, both on-premises and on-other-premises. In his spare time he enjoys gardening, blogging, being sarcastic on Twitter, and watching his kids figure stuff out.