My college nickname was Socrates. That's because I talked about him a lot my first semester as a freshman, and because I was a Classics major. My first college course in Ancient Greek, at an all male undergraduate college (at the time) consisted of myself, the professor, and a woman graduate student (wife of one of the deans). What a surprise when I walked into the first class--nowhere to hide!
We were reading Plato's Apology--Plato's account of the trial of Socrates. Needless to say, as a college freshman, I was captivated by Socrates and his personality.
Socrates got himself into trouble in Athens because he had the annoying habit of exposing how little the Athenians knew, when they were claiming that they were experts in their fields. The only thing Socrates claimed to know, was that he didn't know.
This is a useful point of view for anyone starting out to develop a system of any kind. It is an essential point of view for anyone starting on an innovative, risky system development. The very nature of innovation is that you are heading into the unknown, and what's unknown can get you into trouble--it's risky.
How often do we claim to know what we don't when faced with stakeholders who want to know "how much will it cost", "how long will it take", and then "when will you be done?"
How do you proceed then, in the face of the unknown? How can you estimate, or try to estimate, how long something will take? How do you account for unknown unknowns?
How can agility, architecture, and measurement help you out?
Jim Densmore and I presented a webcast on May 16th where we discussed some of these topics: Architecture, Agility, and Measurement--understanding and addressing risk in A&D programs
Have a listen--hope you enjoy!