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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Legacy vs Lateral (3): Solution space isn't always in two dimensions

This one also happens not so seldom.

Supervisor: Hey, can you do Visual Basic?
Developer: (surprised) Ahm, it depends....
S: Look, I finally got the library that we need for our development. It comes with lots of VB examples, so please integrate a VB module with our app.
D: Could you send me that stuff first?
S: Sure.

Few minutes later, the "stuff" has been received by the developer. After carefully examined it for few minutes, our hero found out that it's just a normal dynamic library, it can be loaded by standard mechanism that every experienced programmer (worth his salt) is familiar with. The VB thing is just because examples are given for VB, presumably to show how easy it can be. But it is not necessary to restrict the solution space to VB.

Setting aside VB & friends, what is important is the concern: often, you are already given a (very) limited set of solutions for a given problem. Long long time ago, that may work well. But nowadays, it won't be that easy. Systems become exponentially more complex, our brain is bombarded with lots of useful information as well as useless junks, there are A to Z details that the brain cells won't bother anymore. It becomes very challenging to be able to have an overview, let alone to always play the polymath rule all time. And the devil is always in the details.

Share the problem descriptions, not always the proposed solutions. And thus, triggers creative thinking and discussions.

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