Arnold Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Nov 29 16:40:53 UTC 2001

in response to geoff sampson's query, passed on to us by lynne
murphy, my local informant (elizabeth internet-firewalls zwicky)

 >A "stovepipe" organization is one where all communication is
 >vertical (like heat going up a stovepipe). You talk to your
 >supervisor, but not to people at your level in other parts of the
 >organization. In software, "stovepipe" is an extreme case of
 >"vertical market", where instead of, say, trying to help any old
 >person write documents, you try to help university professors do
 >everything. A vertical application for a professor would let you
 >write papers and keep gradebooks, both; a stovepipe application
 >would also let you communicate the grades to the administration and
 >maybe get class schedules from them.  The metaphor is that people
 >are columns, and grouped together by what they do. If your
 >application does a little bit for a lot of people, it spreads
 >horizontally; if it does a lot for one person or group it spreads
 >vertical. Stovepipes are assumed to be vertical, narrow tubes.

 >Stovepipe organizations are generally considered bad but easy to set
 >up.  Stovepipe is a rarer term for software.

arnold (zwicky at

More information about the Ads-l mailing list