This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Recipes, development, and chefs

Clarke Ching has been working in public on his book, Rolling Rocks Downhill, for quite a while.  I've read at least one version of it.  Last week, he posted an update of one of the chapters where one of the ideas of the book come together: That (software) developers are creating recipes for a cake,  rather than baking the same cake over and over.  This implies one should be careful about applying manufacturing concepts in such a world.

Here is a quote from Where it all went wrong

'Okay.  Here's the bit that puzzled me.  Development teams in other industries start iterating - and therefore testing, since testing is an intrinsic part of iterating - very early in their development processes.  They cook version 1 of the cake, test it, tweak the recipe, then cook version 2, and so on.  They test throughout the entire development process, but you computer people don't start testing - or iterating - until mid way through a project.  Why is that?'

Why do (software) developers act as if the recipe is fixed, when it clearly is not?  

Dave Snowden has written and talked about a parallel to this problem many times in the context of knowledge management. Are we asking people to simply pick up an item from a knowledge repository and re-use it (like we might see from someone following a recipe)?  Or do we want people to develop enough expertise and understanding to be able to see the key bits of many recipes and create their own (the chef)?

Scope: What problem are you trying to solve

Quotes: the key to knowledge