10 December 2014

On The Fast Track

Recent musing said that BDUF was the way I understood how real engineers built real projects. Agile type projects didn't exist in the real world. Wrong. Sort of. Real engineers don't always BDUF, although the alternative isn't exactly Agile, either.

Of course, memory failed. Today came a story about Seattle's tunnel troubles, which jogged my memory. Nothing in the story references fast-track construction design and build, but that is the method which emerged from some space deep in the lower brain stem. I don't recall when I first heard of it, but fast-track construction projects have been around since the 1960s, apparently.
"A whole block just went down an inch," said Todd Trepanier, the administrator of the project for the State Department of Transportation, at Monday's City Council hearing. "We don't like an inch."

An inch? Well, yeah.

Anyway, here is piece on fast-track.
Most design professionals believe that only nonspecialized building types with repetitive spaces and standard construction make suitable candidates for fast-track construction. "In cases where you are doing a one-off, customized building, the more you speed up the construction time, the harder it is to get things coordinated, the less iteration in design, the more mistakes, and the longer punch list you will end up with," explains James Timberlake, FAIA, of Kieran Timberlake in Philadelphia...

In other words, since software projects are, kind of by definition, one-off, may be we shouldn't do them 'fast-track'.

Now, wouldn't you love to have this for application development?
Sarah Slaughter, CEO and president of Models of Construction Activities (MOCA) Systems, Inc. (http://www.mocasystems.com), has developed a microsimulation environment that models the entire construction process. It provides comparative information on design and construction alternatives at a high level of detail, usually experienced only during actual construction.

Finally, this paper includes a classic observation:
At one of my presentations, an audience member shared the quip that "If building engineers built buildings with the same care as software engineers build systems, the first woodpecker to come along would be the end of civilization as we know it."

No comments: