Find your finesse
"Shall we do it with brute force or finesse?" my physics instructor asked over and over again those many years ago in an introductory course. I sometimes think of him when talking with clients about the challenges of building complex products and systems. I'm referring to the planes, trains, and automobiles -- and smart products in general -- that have increasing amounts of software and interaction with other systems. Spare a thought for the engineers and managers in product companies that have somewhat suddenly and unexpectedly found that they are in the software business too. The growth in software is a good proxy for the growth in complexity in general: in our product designs, our organizations, our supply chains.
I think of the "brute force way" as the manual way; the way we've always done it; the hard-to-do-it-right right way. It may be hard to adapt the old way to today's new, complex environment, but at least it's the known way, the default way. How do we deal with this growing complexity? The same way we always deal with new development challenges: experiment, learn from others, improve the development processes we use, improve our tools. Raise our game. Find the finesse.
For complex product and system development you would do well to look here:
The Rational solution for systems and software engineering brings together these capabilities and practices. Check it out here on developerWorks. This Systems and Software Engineering trial provides a pre-configured solution environment with task guides to help you. Included are the following:
Spend a couple hours or an afternoon. Experiment. Find your finesse.
About the author
Daniel Moul is the Senior Product Manager for the Rational Systems and Software Engineering Foundation. He has been working on and around enterprise software tools and runtimes for the last 15 years. Daniel was part of the team that brought Rational Jazz requirements management to market. He has held various roles in product line management, development program management and project management.