born in the waxing gibbous
Project management and the scientific method 
28th-Sep-2010 07:53 am
honey mead
from Persona Prime at

So many fervent discussions on different project management styles baffle me…

I was raised to be a scientist.  One of my earliest memories is being about 5-6 yr old and mom sitting me down in front on a set of 6 test tubes and a lab book where she had written numbers on the top of each page.  Explained to me the scientific process, how to test w the 5 senses (told me that taste was okay THIS time but not normally) She also gave me Ph indicator strips cause they are fun to play with and easy to practice measuring and recording.  She then left me to figure out what the 6 substances were and keep track in my lab book.

Hypothesis, testing, record data, evaluate hypothesis, repeat

Really this isn’t very different from most project management…

After all aren’t most creations in their own way experiments?

You have an idea, you create it, you test it, you evaluate how it did and you evolve…

All the other parts to be are just frosting… Agile means you fail faster; Waterfall is when you can’t afford to fail.  So deciding which time frame to use just means do some risk evaluations beforehand.

I find it interesting that people get so religious on these discussions.  For me, if you can do real risk analysis because any failure cost is high then I spend more on design time.  If it is a get it done situation where expectations aren’t so rigid esp in the case of experimentation because it hasn’t been done before, then less design and more experimentation is the order of the day.

I guess in the true spirit of Feynman – I just believe in constantly challenging all assumptions and designs :-)

28th-Sep-2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Hi! For some reason this post prompts me to wonder if you've ever played Zendo, a clever geeky game about testing hypotheses and induction that can be viewed as an abstracted version of doing science. Or software debugging. :)

I first played Zendo with JP years ago.
29th-Sep-2010 07:04 am (UTC)
I so completely agree with you! I cannot begin to tell you how many hours I've wasted in meetings with people passionately discussing one method or another, and I want to just stand up and scream "they're all basically the same, just with different time-cycles!"

It's a relief to hear someone else express this :-)
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