I am often asked what is the difference between a logical design and a physical design. And sometimes, whether it is necessary to separate Business Requirements from Technicasl requirements. Some feel that an attempt to separate these aspects is unnecessary. While I will not let myself get bogged down in obsessive hair splitting of a purely academic or linguistic kind, I believe the ability to make the distinction is crucial to the successful design and implementation of new business requirements. And how many requirements are not “new” and unique, even when it seems to be a modification of existing software.
Take a look at the two pictures of two different trams I was in today, in Hong Kong Both have single seats on the left and double seats on the right. Fit a business requirement for there to be maximum seats without sacrificing reasonable comfort. Three seats per row is the logical design. That it is one on the left, a pathway and two seats on the right, is somewhere between a logical and a physical constraint. (I know, textbooks don’t admit that it may not be a clean cut separation between logical and physical, but hey, we live in the real world, and I am not going to kill my project by spending days just arguing over the theory. The actual material used to make the seats is of course very much purely physical design. Look at the handle bars for the standing passengers. One version has only bars on the left hand side, while the other has them on both sides. That is a physical design choice, for a business requirement that standing passengers should be able to steady themselves. A different design choice could very well have been straps instead of bars, or verticle posts. The reason why we should have some idea between logical and physical choices is to give ourselves a lot more room for creative problem solving.
Just revisited a book I bought sometime ago. “The Pig Who Sang to The Moon” by Jeffrey Mason. Subtitled “the emotional World of Farm Animals”.
I know, you’re wondering why I’m mentioning this book out of the blue. The title struck me as interesting when I came across it in a London bookstore. I certainly would not find this book in a religiously sensitive country where the animal or even the mere mention of it is considered offensive. (Won’t go into that at the moment except to say that not all followers of the religions that avoid pork are so ### but many governments pander to the whims of the insane minority).
The book really is not about pigs per say, but use the animal as one example among others, of the view that animals have the same ability to feel, and think, as humans. I am not against eating meat, and I do eat meat, although in much smaller quantities than I used to, as I grow older. Not because of the book or any belief system.
The book uses studies and examples of how certain animals in the studies, were found to be able to have fun, think feel, and therefore possibly anticipate the future. The horror of living a life in anticipation of being slaughtered in the prime of your life.
Death is not the only concern expressed for animals in the book. It is about the immense suffering we put animals, pigs, cows, goat, chicken, etc, when we breed and raise them in the sort of commercial farming systems so widespread today.
One interesting question raised in comparing dogs and cats (which we abhor the thought of harming, much less of eating), with farm animals is that the farm animals do not show an interest in us like cats and dogs do. “Can we only be interested in an animal who fawns on us? Is our vanity so terribly fragile that we require adoration before we accord even the faintest interest? It is not true that farmed animals are indifferent; they are frightened. It is true that all farmed animals are standoffish with us, because there is always a deep basic justified mistrust”.
Towards the end of the book the author asks the question of whether we mistreat animals we breed for food, because They are different from us. It seems a stretch of logic to go from here to inter human relationships.
But my own question is whether there is a connection with all forms of negative discrimination among groups of humans. I remember that at one time the term “positive discrimination ” was bandied around as the justification for some forms of racial discrimination. I am glad I don’t see this term in common use anymore, as it is one of the most ludicrous terms invented, to justify bad policies. Presumably it didn’t achieve the purpose of avoiding embarrassment in mixed company or the world is grown so immune to shame that you can call a black sheep white and to hell with anyone who disagrees.
How big or small, is the step, from ritual slaughter of animals, to that of human? What does it do to our own minds and psyche!
Thinking out of the box may be a good thing. But there’s a problem when it’s applied. In order to think out of the box, you have to be able to know where the box is. This is often missed out. The box is different according to the scenario and the area of study. There is no such thing as a universal box where you can say that “this is the boundary of the box” and apply that to all situations.
Names are important in helping us to be clear about what we mean. And the same the other way around. If we wish to convey some piece of information the choice of words is one factor that determines The success or failure of our communication.
This is easier said than done. Many other factors have to be considered in tandem. The listener and the speaker may attach different meanings to a particular word. The context of the moment and place of the interaction is another factor. The mood of each person may also change by the minute. Body language may be correctly or incorrectly interpreted.
What does this mean? Is the guy thinking deeply? Puzzled? Starting to get a heart attack? Wondering what the ladder is doing on the ground? Angry with the ladder?
This is a topic that we can revisit many more times with further insight.
I’m sitting in the “open air” part of a pub. There’s a roof above bit no walls once in a while the waiter or waitress comes over and aske if I like to move to another table inside. I said no. If it gets too windy, I move myself to s table just out of range, they think I’m crazy. But I really enjoy the rain. And the wind on my face.
Reminds me of my first visit to the US. To Lafayette. One of the folks I met at the company I visited said he had never been out of the state. He described the wonderful feeling of standing in wide open fields as a storm builds up. Today I’m reminded about this as I sit just out of reach of the rain. And I realize how impossible it is to describe a feeling. When we meet with and try to capture a “requirement”, how often we are listening to attempts to describe feeling. And how inadequate the words are. In personal lives too, how often do we encounter expressions of feeling and how often facts?
Feelings are the powerful influencers of our lives. Not facts.
Sitting in one of my favorite open air (under a mobile roof) facing the road. I am aware of a spotlight shining on my direction from across the road. That’s disastrous as spotlights on your direct line of sight causes migraine. Fortunately there’s a potted plant that can block that spotlight. So it’s a matter of adjusting my seating a couple of inches to avoid the spotlight. A lesson on interior decoration, Feng Shui, architecture etc.
The idea of a reason, a cause, is dependent on analyzing something over a time.
Take a look at the video clip.
Can you see the ant? (Continued at bottom of video screen…
Question : Why did the ant jump off the mug?
Answer : the mug was hot?
Question : Why did the ant get on top of the mug in the first place?
The question answer sequence can go on almost indefinitely. The further back we trace things, the more possible reasons there will be in a particular link.
The point I am making here is that we need a clear focus on what our objective is, in asking questions. Is it to understand the behavior of ants? Is it to know what actually happened that led to an event? Or maybe the purpose is to design mugs.