02 September 2009

It's Not Inevitable

OK, let me summarize the whole FIST thing as concisely as possible. It really comes down to this:

"There is nothing inherent in military technology that requries it to cost so much, take so long, or be so complex."

There, I wrote it down for everybody on the Interwebs to see, and it feels good.

The more I read, the more I do, the more I hear people's stories, the more convinced I am that complexity is not inevitable. We do it to ourselves, technologically and organizationally and procedurally... but we dont' have to. Similarly, these huge cost overruns and schedule delays are not inevitable. Until we believe that - I mean REALLY believe it - we're going to keep getting the results we've been getting.

Incidentally, this applies to NASA's space projects as much as the DoD's systems... and no doubt to commercial & industrial projects as well.

1 comment:

Andrew Meyer said...

Dan and Gabe,

I just saw this game/idea in a different blog that I thought you'd find interesting. You may have already seen it because you follow Martin's blog, but in case you haven't, I'll include the link and the story.

I suspect you'll find a kindred spirit in Martin.

The Pirates’ Game

Requirements: Five people are required to play this game.

Scenario: As a group of pirates, you have just found a chess than contains 100 gold pieces.

How to win: The objective of each of the pirate is to maximize the number of coins they will receive and the decision to split the coin is democratic – each pirate gets to vote and the majority (or tie) proposition will be accepted.

Rules: Each pirate has a seniority level – pirate A is the most senior pirate while pirate E – the fifth pirate – is the most junior pirate. In order of seniority, each pirate proposes to the group how he wishes to split the coins and then asks everyone (including himself) to vote on the proposal.

When a proposal receives 50% or more of the vote, it is then accepted BUT if the proposal receives less than 50% of the votes, the proposing pirates is thrown overboard to the sharks.

While pirate A would wish to keep the 100 coins, there is no way for him to make this proposal without being thrown to the sharks. His challenge then becomes how to please other pirates in order to keep as many coins as possible, without risking his life.