Much of the discussion on building products and services is focused on eliciting requirements, developing solutions around these requirements. Ignoring for a moment the silliness of not knowing the cost or duration of this work effort, we still need to address the business side of spending other peoples money in exchange for delivery a known value.
Over the past months I've come to see the world through the eyes of Systems Engineering. I have a MS in Systems Management, but haven't applied it in 25 years.
My current assignment is on a large software intensive system that is a national asset. This is a code word for it has to work as planned or 100's of million of people, sovereigns, and other users will be disappointed at best and possibly be put in harms way at worst.
This systems view means: (Systems Thinking for the Enterprise: New and Energing Perspectives)
- Systems Thinking - seeing the whole, the interrelationships between the parts, and the patterns that emerge from the interactions between the parts.
- Context Awareness - being mindful of the business governance processes, operational, economic, and technical influences and constraints of the domain in which the system operates.
- Accepting Uncertainty - by acknowledging the fundamental principle of all project work - statistical processes drive probabilistic behaviours in ways we may not understand and possibly cannot control. No solution is possible, only risk response in the form of risk retirement or margin.
- Complex Systems Evolve - based on the fundamental principles of the sciences of evolution, ecology, and adaptions, human built systems have the same results. Adaptation, self-organization, and natural selection are in play.
So it all comes down to this:
If you don't know what someting costs - in units of money, schedule, manpower, infrastructure, tools, process risk, delay - you're not going to be able to know what it is worth.
That's it, It's that simple. Anyone suggesting their processes or even a HashTag masquerading as a suggested approach to problems, that this solution will increase the Probability of Project Success (POPS) or their suggested solution is focused on providing value to the customer, must address how that suggestion will work in the presence of the reality of building products and services in exchange for someone else's money.