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class Goal; has_many :sub_goals; end

Posted by Wed, 16 Aug 2006 16:26:00 GMT

1 comment Latest by Jason Watkins Wed, 16 Aug 2006 22:30:04 GMT

I was up late last night reading, The New Utopians: A study of system design and social change and came across the following quote.

“Problem solving proceeds by erecting goals, detecting differences between present situation and goal, finding in memory or by search tools or processes that are relevant to reducing differences of these particular kinds, and applying these tools or processes. Each problem generates subproblems until we find a subproblem we can solve-for which we already have a program stored in memory. We proceed until, by successive solution of such problems, we eventually achieve our over-all goal-or give up.”[1]

This caught my attention because this presents a very systematic process for achieving goals, but doesn’t clarify how you erect these initial goals in the first place. Our team is putting a lot energy into rethinking how we are requesting information from our clients. Brian Ford has written an article titled, Ethical Software Needs Dialogue, which discusses some of our current approaches to outlining the project goals.

Brian writes, “One approach that we are trying is dialoguing with the client about goals without talking at all about the web site. In other words, for that exploration, the web site doesn’t even exist. Talk about thinking outside the tubes.”

If you have a few minutes… you might read his insightful article.

1 H.A. Simon, The New Science of Management Decision (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1960), p. 27.

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    Jason Watkins Wed, 16 Aug 2006 22:30:04 GMT

    Reminds me of a favorite quote from John Carmack (creator of Doom, Quake, etc) on slashdot years ago that I saved:

    Focused, hard work is the real key to success. Keep your eyes on the goal, and just keep taking the next step towards completing it. If you aren’t sure which way to do something, do it both ways and see which works better.

    I really like that middle part: if you’re not sure what the next step is on a goal, or which option is the best, get over the paralysis and just try them.