March 26, 2008

high end software development and haute cuisine!

I'm just finished reading Kitchen Confidential. What strikes me is how much similarities there is in the perception of what is cool in cooking and what is cool in software engineering, or how similar things have to be so that an organization becomes predictable.

The perception in software development is - one you write a lot of code, and two you get to exercise your creativity all the time. Well most of the software projects out there are software where you do add-ons, new features, rarely do you start from scratch. Regarding creativity, in order to be predictable and measurable, creativity must give way to some form of processes and discipline.

This is exactly what I found while reading Kitchen Confidential - if you think you want to be a chef so that you can cook crazy things, stay home, in your own kitchen. There is absolutely no improvisation on the cooking line, it's all mechanical and very precise movements, so that at the end of the line the dish that comes out is always the same no matter the day or the time of the day.

The creativity is not in production, the creativity is when you build the menu, just like us when we design for the users. The reality sets in when you get to talk about the cost of the products on the menu, the same for us when we start to factor in the business goals.

So for predictable and successful innovation there is a process and time for everything, just like when it's lunch time it's no time to try out new things. You have to depend on talent, people, and processes to funnel the energy and creativity in the most effective way, to read more about it see some material and here we have put together.

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