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Sometimes you have to ask hard questions

One of the things I spent a lot of time on is the overall concept of what could we do faster or better. When you do something, make a mistake and then have to fix the error, it takes longer than only doing something right the first time. But time is essential in the sense that you need to get things done in a fashion that fits the time allotted. Balancing that can be very difficult. Do it right, do it fast and correctly. Sometimes the two do not work together. They are components of what is called the resource triangle. You can do things quickly, you can do things cheaply, or you can do things right the three work together, but you can only pick one to be controlled.

If you do things fast, then you have to give up either the cost or quality. If you do things right, you have to give up control of cost or speed. If you do things cheaply, you have to give up quality and speed control. That resource triangle guides how IT organizations or web sites choose what to fix, how to fix it, and what to do after it is fixed. One of the systems I always use when helping people consider what they want from a project is John Boyd’s OODA Loops. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and then Act. The loops are constant feedback loops that keep the project on track. The reason for this today is a question I got from a reader yesterday.

The question was simply, “my company was looking to improve an application and asked me to figure out what we needed to do.” My first question was, why? Is the application too slow? He responded with, “The application is too slow and doesn’t have all the features we are looking for.” I pointed out that adding features and speeding up applications isn’t always the easiest way to go forward. Speeding up forms can be done while adding features, but features often make the application slower. I told my friend the best thing to do was to go back and ask his company were they looking for functionality or speed. For now, you can’t do both. You can add functionality after you speed things up, or speed things up after you add functionality.

Sometimes you have to ask hard questions!

This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental (unless explicitly mentioned by name.)

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    are you comfortable asking hard questions?

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    have you heard of John Boyd?

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Written by DocAndersen

One fan, One team and a long time dream Go Cubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  1. while I had an anecdotal idea of the concept, you fully explained the OODA loop principle to me before is the cycle: observe–orient–decide–act, developed by military strategist and the United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the operational level during military campaigns. Thank you for your enthralling story, explaining the principles, Doc.

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  2. Filling in forms is guaranteed to drive people mad, if you have to fill in forms, I think they should be printed and done by hand. See a person and check to see if you have all the added papers for the form, and then an expert can tell you if it is right.

    I had this problem with NZ Govt departments, they kept losing forms and papers and its best to see an expert at the desk to make sure everything is done once, not 3 or 4 months.

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  3. One of the hardest questions for me comes every month Where did all the money go? Between my rent and my groceries when that SS hits my account it seems the money just flies away and once again I am pounding on the keyboard to bring in more money through my writing,

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    • i have the same problem. Payday comes, and all the bills gather around the account like moths. I am covering some of my sons-in-law and daughters bills right now (he lost his job due to the pandemic) and my money got stretched thin!

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  4. I have no issues asking or answering hard questions.
    I prefer giving and getting the right answers if at times they only make sense to me.

    NB. Totally unrelated to this post. Where can I find a program or site where i can design and save my own business letterhead for FREE. (yeah i know)

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