Seeing Our Projects To Their Sail

Few weeks ago, I got an opportunity to visit the Rijks museum in Amsterdam.The Rijks museum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history.The museum houses several hundreds of paintings by some of the greatest painters and has several thousand people visiting every day. It depicts the culture and history of Netherlands. There is a section on special collections with several interesting artefacts like Guns, Musical instruments, watches and many others collected over several hundreds of years.

But the one that got my attention was the collection of ships. What is so special here? There were wooden models of battle ships, cargo and passenger ships and half models of ships. Based on the notes that were available in the museum, Half models are used in discussions between ship builders and their clients to ensure that the ship is delivered as per the expectations of the clients. Simple!

In this model, we see the concept of prototyping before building the complete ship and also there is a clear acceptance criteria. In ship building this practice has been followed for centuries. You first design a model of the ship and that too only a half as the hull has to be symmetric, you show it to the prospective client, get their inputs and make the changes and then finally deliver according to the agreed prototype. Definitely a better method and I am sure it will reduce the change requests once a ship is delivered J.

If you are someone working in IT and have faced the struggles of meeting customer expectations, then I think there is a lot to be learnt from this practice. Many such practices from the traditional industries that can be adapted in IT. Lean Start-up is one such movement that leverages from Lean Manufacturing!

I definitely think this is a best practice that needs to take much more main stream in IT.

1. Create a basic prototype of the solution

2. Share it with prospective clients and get their inputs

3. Make necessary changes and get sign off

4. Start building (the deliverable becomes Minimum Viable Product)

5. Keep showing the progress to prospective and making changes

Following the above steps will ensure that we deliver a product that the customers will use the first time and always!