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Perfection of Mean and Confusion of Aims – PART II

In the earlier blog https://3point4.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/perfection-of-means-and-confusion-of-aims/ we saw that one size does not fit all. We need to customize the process frameworks to suit the specifics of the customer and the project team. Agile was advocated, Agile we meant there was more of mindset rather than fixed set of sequences and activities.

 One common place example comes to my mind when we think of this quote “Perfection of Mean and Confusion of Aims” from greatest scientist Albert Einstein…… The Washing Process.

 Problem statement: To remove the stains from the cloth. (Not to damage the fabric).

 Expected Solution    :  Stainless cloth, ready to wear.

 Step 1: Prepare Detergent solution (Detergent + Water mixed in right proportion)

Review the requirements for functional and non functional requirements, group reviews. Avoid requirements Gold plating and introducing complex features etc. This will overload resources and cause reworks. Just use the right quantities of mixture of detergent and water and not too much.   

Step 2:  Soak the cloth in detergent solution. Allow for some time for the Soap to act on the stains

Ensure the Design Plans are made, design inputs are provided and design outputs are validated. Inadequate design and quick design prototype to save development time will lead to poor products. Soak the product enough time in reviews and detailing don’t get stuck with design process, move to coding after sufficient design activity.

Step 3:  Washing in the machine by churning for few cycles

Through iterative reviews, refactoring to ensure that design outputs meet the input specs. Do appropriate refactoring and tailoring to remove the downstream problems that the product may face with regard to design insufficiency

Step 4:  Rinsing (removal of Soap and remaining dirt if any)

Convert the design (pseudo code) into source code by syntax. Remove the unnecessary detailing. Use reusable components. Adequately test the code. Don’t extend testing to unnecessary paths that are not required. Ensure to rinse (test) the product to clean off all the defects                       

Step 5: Drying (Removal of water)

Move the source code into production by ending the testing processes. Testing should be stopped at optimum stage. Testing beyond a stage will add cost to the software vendor as well as delay the shipment of the product to the customer adding more costs. Follow Agile Principle.

We see here that better to ruse the process in phases as applicable and let the process be enabler rather than stoppers.

Summary: To get a clean cloth (product), we soap, soak and rinse. While rinsing we are actually removing the soap that we applied as means to remove dirt. Similarly while drying we remove the water that we used during rising. Much the same way we use processes as means only and not as end. Processes should be used as appropriate and should lead to matured products

Result: Dried unstained cloth ready to wear (after ironing) 

Conclusion : Without Soap and water we cannot remove stains ; after a stage if we keep the soap and water we cannot get the cloth in wearable state. Hence Soap and Water are required up to a stage and need to get rid of them after the intended use.

Similarly use processes as a means to get to the Aim.


One Response

  1. Finding customer specific requirements has long been a challenge. In fact, a survey of current automotive suppliers found that a significant number did not know where to go for the latest applicable customer specific requirements. For registrars and end users, this represents a serious problem. How can rules be followed and enforced if they are not readily available?

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