RE: Prototypes, process, and ID (RE:[interactionarchitects] Re: process ... the next generation)

30 Oct 2003 - 4:26am
10 years ago
2 replies
714 reads
John O'Donovan
2004

Peter Bagnall said:
> I think part of our problem is that in software
> the manufacturing cost is practically nothing (CD's
> or net distro are cheap.), so any more time spent
> in design feels to management like a direct increase
> in cost, and therefore a loss of profitability.

I'm not sure I know the context in which you are describing manufacturing
here Peter, because the cost of manufacturing software also includes an
equivalent "tooling" up period which is development, testing and everything
else related to building applications. If you have ever tried to change the
design of a software application some way into the build process, I'm sure
you will know just how expensive developmet can be.

However, XP and other Agile methods were a direct reaction against people
trying to spend too much time designing up front and not enough time trying
things out...

However the software world is aware of it's failing in this respect, so now
being in danger of going full circle:

"Data indicate that 60-80% of the cost of software development is
rework--that is, fixing defects that are found during testing.* While
software must still be tested, testing and rework costs would be reduced if
better design and implementation practices were used. "
http://www.sei.cmu.edu/director/aboutSEI.html

This does not inevitably mean more time on design - just better practises.

Cheers,

jod

Comments

30 Oct 2003 - 8:26am
whitneyq
2010

At 09:26 AM 10/30/2003 +0000, you wrote:
>However the software world is aware of it's failing in this respect, so now
>being in danger of going full circle:

Yes.

We've seen these cycles - top down programming, bottom up programming,
leave-us-alone-to-do-our-work, tell-us-what-to-do... and on and on.

Perhaps the problem is that the real task is not "programming". That is, we
are thinking of software (especially large enterprise software) as a
technology problem instead of a business--people-technology problem. We
focus on "what" instead of "how". And we try to solve a multi-faceted
design challenge by letting the team farthest from the people who use it lead.

It's always interesting to work on a project (usually one with a relatively
small scope) with someone who knows the business inside out, but doesn't
really know software or design at all. Sometimes their results are more
usable -- because they reflect the task so well -- even though they are
clumsier applications of either software or design. It's when they learn "a
little bit" that the work becomes truly awful.

Whitney Quesenbery
Whitney Interactive Design, LLC
w. www.WQusability.com
e. whitneyq at wqusability.com
p. 908-638-5467

UPA - www.usabilityprofessionals.org
STC Usability SIG: www.stcsig.org/usability

30 Oct 2003 - 11:28am
vutpakdi
2003

--- Whitney Quesenbery <wq at sufficiently.com> wrote:
> At 09:26 AM 10/30/2003 +0000, you wrote:
> >However the software world is aware of it's failing in this respect, so
> now
> >being in danger of going full circle:
>
> Yes.
>
> We've seen these cycles - top down programming, bottom up programming,
> leave-us-alone-to-do-our-work, tell-us-what-to-do... and on and on.
>
> Perhaps the problem is that the real task is not "programming". That is,
> we
> are thinking of software (especially large enterprise software) as a
> technology problem instead of a business--people-technology problem. We
> focus on "what" instead of "how". And we try to solve a multi-faceted
> design challenge by letting the team farthest from the people who use it
> lead.

I think that most teams view solving technology problems to be considerably
more fun and easier than solving the business-people-technology problem.
It's easier for teams to wrap their minds around building something rather
than the really tough problem of what to build and why it needs to be
built. Sort of a "to hell with this thinking part, I wanna build
something" sort of attitude. To avoid the really tough problem, they just
start building stuff (which is more fun to them anyway).

Ron

=====
============================================================================
Ron Vutpakdi
vutpakdi at acm.org

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/

Syndicate content Get the feed