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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Designed For Failure - Most Often

Scott Berkun, writes about common problems that contribute unsatifactory/set up for failure efforts in the field of software development. Come to think of it - this is relevant for all initiatives where many human interactions happen in arriving at a final solution/product. He identifies common deficiencies as:

- General incompetence: Hiring the worst people, pay them poorly, give them bad equipment and unpleasant working conditions.
- Unclear purpose: Goals never explained, the non existent business plan is never rationalized , too many changes on the way.
- Unplanned design: Waiting as long as possible to think about what the customer’s experience should be, so that decisions that most impact the people have the fewest resources, the most constraints and the lowest possible probability of a quality outcome.
- Poor engineering: People build things that frequently fail in dramatic, surprising and dangerous ways.
He adds, Good things are easily to miss. They don't scream for attention. You have to cultivate the skill in finding good things, and pay attention to those around you that have a knack for finding them. But we, as consumers are so buried in things made for us by others that we've fallen into an arrogant attitude. We forget that behind every song, automobile, movie, or website was at least one person that slaved for months or years to make what we see. To understand good, or even great things, we have to turn our consumer instincts off, and think like creators. Whenever a good thing is seen, it would help to ask questions like:
- How did they do this?
- How much time did it take them? What techniques did they use? How many people were involved?
- How did they engineer it to achieve the effects it has?
- What training did they have?
- How much of the engineering is even visible when I use it?
- What makes it so good?
An wonderful post - worth reflecting upon.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"