Project Design for the Modern Software Professional
Project Design for the modern software professional: Introducing ‘The Method’ the single most logical approach to project design that you never knew existed but have been dreaming about all your life!
In the world of software development, professionals love putting themselves in boxes. Some are Agilists others are Waterfall and the rest exist in the multitude of offshoots somewhere in between. This habit of identifying yourself to a methodology and following it rigidly can have the negative effect of limiting ones perspective to all possibilities and is liken to a horse trotting along with his blinkers on. The horse can get along just fine in his tasks and be great at what he does but take those blinkers off and he won’t recognise the world he sees before him. The sounds and smells may be familiar but what you see and how you perceive the same challenges will never be the same again and the funny thing is you’ll never want them to be the same. Well that’s what ‘The Method’ does for software professionals. It takes off the blinkers, it doesn’t change you or take away anything you know and feel comfortable with; it just shows you the whole picture so you can use what you know as the foundation for something amazing… the path to self-actualization as a professional.
So let me take you on this enlightening journey and help take your blinkers off and open up your world to the realm where nothing is impossible just improbable, where risk is something you embrace and everything is quantifiable. Welcome to the world of Juval Lowy’s, iDesign Method.
Now how does one go about designing a project? Let’s start with Volatility based decomposition the anti-fragile approach. Now the best example I can use (without getting out the hand puppets) to describe volatility based decomposition as opposed to functional based decomposition is the building a house example that Juval uses in his class. So the functional approach will tell you, you have a requirement to eat in the home. So you design a kitchen with a microwave. Once the kitchen is built you realise that microwave food isn’t as healthy as you thought and would like a cooker in there to steam vegetables. So what do you do now? Well you look at the kitchen as it is and try to work out what you need to re-design to fit in a cooker i.e., gas pipes, wiring, unit space and may have to knock down a wall or units to make space. Not an ideal scenario which could lead to inflated costs and all sorts of other issues. Well if you took the volatility based approach you would have asked yourself to consider this at the point of design. If I’m only going to need a microwave now what if the situation changes in the future and I may need a cooker? And what would I need to put in place to adapt to future possible changes? Planning & designing in anticipation to change and volatility is what ‘The Method’ is all about and is the primary difference between functional and volatility based decomposition.
So how does one go about planning for volatility? Well understanding the above is just the beginning. In the Project Design Masterclass you learn how to use this approach for every aspect of project design.
Starting with putting together your resources and identifying your critical path, how to measure cost and time in effort and value, putting together a time-cost curve to identify how to use your resources most effectively and learn how project crashing in the right way can save you both time and money whilst keeping an eye on risk.
Staffing allocation also plays an important part in managing ones project allocating the right amount of developers, understanding the importance of test engineers and utilising parallel development and identifying the most efficient staffing model and ratios for a particular project.
Then there’s risk analysis and how you can utilize the Golden Ratio (Phi) to calculate risk to the decimal point and identify the optimal strategy for progression with minimal risk and actively see and measure how changes to staffing, time, & float will change the risk factor of the project.
There’s also a model on project recovery highlighting what you need to identify to recover a project and how you can measure changes and see the risk, cost, time implications of any changes you make.
The Project Design class gives you all the tools and knowledge you need to successfully and confidently design a project. The theories and concepts taught complimented with a plethora of tools and formulas empower you to identify, analyse and measure the changes you make as well as the changes you plan to make, ensuring the best options are always chosen and presented when making decisions of such great importance.
iDesign path to reaching the Zen of Architecture & Project Design:
These 3 courses are what form the complete ‘Method’ as defined by iDesign. First comes the design and due diligence. Then comes the architecture and planning. Finally comes the practice and application. It is highly recommended that they are attended by both the Architect and Project Design/Lead of a company. Juval Lowy says that “for the beginner Architect there are many options, but for the Master Architect there are only a few”. In my opinion the iDesign ‘Method’ is one of those few options and a definitive must for all Project designers and Architects who aspire to be the best professionals they can be and true masters of their trade.
By Amaad Qureshi