Saturday, April 4, 2015

Slow Speed Ahead!

Hi! Happy Saturday!

Slow Speed Ahead!

Every once in awhile here at Irreni World Scale I like to post to say slow speed ahead! Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence and I'm making a lot of claims!

Slowing things down is what I call the Sexy Principle of Quality of Life. Mmmmm.

The Sexy Principle comes from project management and computer science. What? Hunh? LOL. This is one of those computer science practices being applied to politics. Oh yeah, baby, right there. Lower. :-)

A long time ago in a land far, far away software project management used a process that later came to be called The Waterfall. How nice, eh? Images of taking a waterfall shower on a tropical Hawaiian island, a little rain coming down. Mmmm. If only software development was such. The Waterfall approach really means two things, 1.) no looking back and 2.) lock-step.

The Waterfall approach starts at the top of the waterfall with something called the business requirements and transitions along a cascade of functional requirements, development, test plans and testing. The CEO, sales, marketing or some other business minded person comes up with a business case for some new piece of software. Boom! Could be even your customer if your business is providing software for others. The cascade of the production of a software project from The Waterfall starts and then descends from the very top of the power food chain all the way down to the very bottom of the company food chain: Quality Control.

The food chain of a software project in a corporation usually goes some like:
  • CEO / Customer
  • Upper Management
  • Design or Keyman Engineer
  • Project Management
  • Developer  Engineer
  • Bug Fix Engineer
  • QA Engineer
  • QC Tester
Sh*t rolls down hill and that is how and why The Waterfall gets its name. What's interesting about The Waterfall is that role of Project Management is sandwiched between engineering roles. A Keyman Engineering role is someone in the company who is the only person that knows how something works. The project manager has the lovely job of pretending to deliver the business requirements when the untouchable Keyman Engineer keeps changing things and holding software hostage.

That's The Waterfall. The Waterfall process was pretty much the only process for software development after the invention of the computer for the next fifty years. Not because it was proven to work;  not because it worked well; and not because it worked more often then not. But because sh*t rolling down hill is the only thing people in power want despite all the failures and waste.

Then somewhere in the 1980s Fedex starting eating the US Postal Service's lunch and did so charging much hirer rates than what the USPS. The CEO of Fedex published a management book about "empowering" employees and how this lead to the success of Fedex. This management book dovetailed nicely into another empowerment process, new management process using a Japanese way of manufacturing called JIT, just-in-time manufacturing. For over a decade it seemed like every month a new business management book came out.  The underlying theme was to revolutionize sh*t rolling down hill and capture the value of people all along the food chain, empower the people!  Manufacturing world over was adopting JIT and business practices empowering people. Hooray!

Then the Internet came along in the 1990s, or more importantly The World Wide Web. The web launched a new business model overnight, the Internet startup. Internet startup companies started making millions of dollars in just one-or-two years and putting bricks-and-mortar companies out of business. Amazon came out and said they were going to sell everything, all the bricks-and-mortar companies laughed and Amazon is now laughing last.

The advent of the quick turn-around of overnight software success coupled with new business practices empowering people undermined The Waterfall process.  Unfortunately I cannot say they killed The Waterfall process. Government agencies, large companies and companies lead by megalomaniacs are never going to give up on sh*t rolling down hill. Waterfall is here to stay unless human nature changes, sad to say.

Now you are asking yourself, what took the place of The Waterfall for software development? Will that process be even sexier? Oooooo, the suspense! Ha ha!

The Sexy Principle could have been called The Feedback Principle but where is the sexy in that? Eh? What replaced The Waterfall could be also called The Feedback Principle as well, just like The Sexy Principle. The actual name is Agile.

The Agile process uses feedback but feedback goes by a different name: iterations. The Agile process tries to break the cycle of sh*t rolling downhill by pushing the bad ideas, bad requirements and bad design back uphill in small iterations. The Agile process works intuitively in a small start-up of a handful of people. This is because all of the roles of The Waterfall are typically found in the same person. The founder of an Internet startup is also the tester. Kinda hard not to see the reality of bad requirements, bad ideas and bad design when you are the person doing it all.

The Agile process, as you might expect, is most effective in small startups with everyone assuming multiple roles.

The Sexy Principe of Quality of Life is meant to follow the trail blazed by Waterfall-to-Agile and provide a feedback process for human development in an agile way.  Instead of sh*t rolling down hill from the government telling us what is socially desired at the large scale via some weird process of amalgamation of polling, political party compromises and corruption then we talk to each other.

We talk to each other but with style. Bring on the sexy.

Each and every one of us becomes a movie maker. We make movies or TV shows that promote our wants and ideals for society at large! The political amalgamation process becomes  the movie amalgamation process where we incorporate values and ideals from each other's hopes and dreams into works of art.

But that is just the beginning of the Sexy Principle process. Oh yes, we want it long and slow and hard. Right there. Hmmmm. Slow speed ahead!

You don't roll out large human development projects to 400 million people at once like was done with Obamacare. That is not the long, slow, hard way a good orgasm takes. Not at all. You start out slow and build up to a crecendo! Pardon me while a take a break and listen to Ravel's "Bolero" concerto!

Imagine we roll out the notion of police wearing body cameras overnight for all 630,000 police officers in this country who are servicing all 400 million of us. Ummm, hello 1984? By screaming for police body cameras we are falling into the trap that Franklin and many others have warned us about: those who would sacrifice personal liberty for security deserve neither.

Here's the scenario. You walk into work one day and your boss informs you that you are required to wear a body camera. You're like, "what?" and scratch your head. Your boss further goes onto to say, "our insurance provider has informed us that we are required to have all employees wear body cameras just like the police. And just like the police the video and audio will be deleted regularly with no trace as long as there are no human resources conflicts being reported with you involved. We feel this protects not only the company but employees such as women being protected from unwanted sexual advances and so on. Here put this on." What are you going to do about it? We will literally be living 1984 dystopia. That microphone will be live 24/7 feeding into security ears and if you say anything bad about your boss? you're fired.

This is called the law of unintended consequences. This is why you do not roll things out to large groups of people without first scaling up ever larger groups of people.

The Sexy Principle informs a feedback process with the following requirements:
  1. Person-to-person inform with style. We create new music, art, video and food to present our dreams and hopes to each other. Remember, this is no longer about survival, but quality of life. Quality of life means fun! with the run! 
  2. Simulation and role playing. We try out our ideas and expectations using simulation first. We use the best technology possible to simulate and then use role playing to empathize. 
  3. Record, quantify and research. My idea is the results of simulation and role playing experiments are recorded and then managed by the Terran Sea Otter Academy, TSOA. 
  4. Feedback of the results and subsequence research are used to make decisions about whether to continue and if so how to continue. Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. All human development projects need to have science applied where expected results of ideal claims can be scientifically certified.
  5. Continue steps 1-4 above but also adding in real-world implementations of every larger groups of people until the human development project runs its course.
Wow! You may be saying to yourself. That's a lot, a lot of work. And fun! All that new art is going to be fun. Yes I'm recommending a lot of slow, hard, long work with lots of candles and moaning. We can afford too fact we need too. Either sh*t rolls down hill from our government or we dance with each other  reformulating large scale social expectations. Let's dance!


Be Sexy people!

Slow Speed Ahead!

The future is coming!

Well come! and well met!

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