Several years ago, my wife Han and I stopped at a nice independent bookstore on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire called the Innisfree Shop. We are both bookaholics, and the selection of books was good, so I looked at her and said, "Innisfree, but out is expensive
". We escaped, however, without having to take a second mortgage on the house due to buying two piles of books.
"Innisfree, out is expensive
" is a corollary to several other maxims such as, "pay me now, or pay me later
" and perhaps "measure twice, cut once
A few other examples.
Many years ago now, when personal computers were just making their way into the workplace (this of course tags me as a grey-haired old fart), a young co-worker came up to me and showed me a nicely formatted list of names and phone numbers, sorted by name, with borders around each name and phone number pair. I looked at her, and said, "that looks great--but what happens when you have to put a new name and phone number in the list?". She had manually sorted the list, typed it in, and manually formatted it with borders. "Oh," she said, with a crestfallen look on her face, "I'll have to redo the whole list". If she'd invested her time in learning how to use a database with reporting, or made the list less fancy, without borders, she could insert and sort much easier when needed.
More recently, I am somewhat abashed to say, my department has been using spreadsheets as databases. I'm actually ok with that, if done with the limitations of a spreadsheet kept in mind, and with some knowledge of database principles. The problem in this case is multiple items are being placed in a cell/field. This is being done because it's extra work to create multiple rows to hold the data being entered in the cells. Extra work at entry time, that is. "Pay me now or pay me later
". When you want to extract a unique record for one of the items in a field with multiple entries, you can't, or you can't without a lot of extra work. The same is true if you use the color of a cell (red, yellow, green, for example) to indicate status--it will be difficult, if not impossible to sort by status unless you also include a text value for the field.
Systems Engineering in general, and model based systems engineering in particular, are, I submit, a similar situation. You can save a lot of pain, rework, and expense later if you invest in them up front. I'm not going to cite a lot of data here, just point out the similarity/analogy. By investing in modeling, you can save time and money in a wide variety of contexts--invest now, and reap the benefits later. In this case, innisnotfree, but out is less expensive, and most likely quicker too.
Can you cite similar situations in Aerospace and Defense, where Innisfree, but out is expensive? or in other industries?