My guild meeting on Saturday was a discussion about the design process, and I came away with lots of ideas for my book. Now that I’m scratching beneath the surface, I’m finding that there are a HUGE number of parallels between software development processes and craft process (at least, the way I do it!). So my new outline for the “Managing a large project” section looks like this:
- Project design
- Intended use
- Tools for refining vision
- Prototypes/samples are experiments!
- Designing your prototype
- Building your prototype
- Assessing your prototype
- Engineering: translating your vision into something that can be built
- Constructing your vision
- Planning construction
- Managing risks
- Project retrospectives
Software development process geeks will notice that this is a crossbreed between Agile and waterfall software development techniques. On the outline it looks pretty waterfall-y, but the prototyping I’m envisioning happens throughout the project, not just in the prototyping section, so it’s a bit more Agile than it sounds.
I will, of course, write all this up in a more crafter-friendly manner (very few crafters are software development process geeks), but it’s interesting to see how the bones of the process look a lot like software process bones. I guess that’s not surprising; there are a limited number of ways to design and construct things, so it’s not too surprising that it should come out this way.
One difference between craft projects and software projects, though, is that craft projects can start at different points in the process – for example, some people start with a yarn and say “What can I do with this?”, others just weave a fabric and see what they want to do with it later. Software projects are designed for efficiency, and therefore follow a fairly linear model (with feedback loops); craft projects aren’t necessarily about efficiency, so can follow a more meandering path. One thing I need to keep in mind for the book is that not everyone follows the same path, so it’s important to acknowledge and write for different styles of craft creation, not just my own.