Iterative and Incremental Principle Series 1: The Dreaded Assignment

A few days ago, while making breakfast for my teenage son… he turned to me and happily exclaimed, “I really like how my high school Government class assigns our reading homework.  In middle school, we had to read a chapter each week.  Everyone dreaded it.  In high school, our teacher assigns us a section or two every day.  We still end up reading a chapter each week, but this way is so much easier and I’m actually remembered what I’ve read!”

Wow!  Once I recovered from my initial shock that my high school son actually initiated conversation with me, it struck me that he was describing one of the five basic OUM principles -- Iterative and Incremental.   Not only did he describe how his teacher divided a week long assignment into daily increments, but he went on to communicate some of the major benefits of having shorter, more achievable milestones. 

I started to think about other applications of the iterative and incremental approach and I realized that I had incorporated this approach when I recently rededicated myself to physical fitness.  Join me over the next four days as I present an Iterative and Incremental blog series where I relate my personal experience incorporating the iterative and incremental approach and the benefits that I achieved.

Comments:

Linda -

I love this topic. Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Tom

Posted by Tom Spitz on September 24, 2012 at 09:01 PM GMT+05:00 #

I blame the failure of my marriage on the Waterfall process!

I should have been a lot more iterative. Specifically, I should have carefully evolved my requirements, then defined and proven a baseline architecture, and incrimentally tested builds.

Well, as they say, there is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it twice!

Hope no one takes offence to my sense of humour.

Posted by Rui on September 25, 2012 at 02:58 AM GMT+05:00 #

Hi Linda,

Nice idea, made me think about it... when I had piano classes it also worked this way. Each week you add a new "case"(Page) or you improve the previous ones or more likely, both.

Rgds, EduW

Posted by EduW on September 25, 2012 at 02:50 PM GMT+05:00 #

Hi Rui,

I like the way you are thinking! A great philosopher -- my mother -- always gave this marital advice "Train them early and often!". You have me thinking that applying OUM principles to marriage may increase the likelihood of success. In fact, I would start with the Project Management Plan (PMP). Can you imagine how helpful it would be, right off the start, to establish a financial plan, a work plan and a communication plan for the parties entering into a marriage. If you think about it, when a project is initiated, it is much like a marriage between the project sponsor (and stakeholders) and the project manager (and project team). Thanks Rui -- not only did you not offend me, but you have inspired my next blog -- "Applying OUM to Increase Marital Success!"

Posted by guest on September 25, 2012 at 04:53 PM GMT+05:00 #

EduW,

Thanks for the comment. I was hoping that followers would share different ways they have experienced the iterative and incremental principle in their lives. I also took piano classes for many years as a youth. Unfortunately for me, what I learned is that I did not possess musical skills! I was fine with tempo and keeping count, but not with the mechanics of playing an instrument. Consequently, for me, even the smaller (page) assignments were "dreaded assignments". If you follow my blog the remainder of the week, I discuss additional considerations related to planning iterations, but one area that I did not touch on is assigning resources to the work within an iteration. Specifically, making sure the resources assigned to the iteration tasks have the correct skill set for completing the work. Looking back, my skills were much more suited to dance than to playing music. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

Posted by Linda Lowitz on September 25, 2012 at 09:01 PM GMT+05:00 #

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