March 15, 2007

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Agile House Building

If you live in the UK, or know someone that does, you might have heard of a TV show over here called Grand Designs. In each program, we watch as people design and build - well, pay qualified professionals to design and build (if they've got any sense) - their dream homes.

Last night's episode was especially fascinating, and relevant. A couple of social workers from London had decided to build a house boat using only reclaimed or recycle materials. There was no up-front design at all. They bought a suitably big barge to build on. Then they instructed their builder to create a 3-story, 3-bedroomed house boat using timber, steel and wotnot that they found lying around. The design would have to evolve bit by bit and they had to adapt it many times in response to the materials they found as they went along.

The show's presenter, Kevin McCloud, banged on and on about how not having an up-front design would end in tears. At one point he railed: "It's called design and they've been doing it for 6,000 years!"

And the couple funding the build did indeed have to overcome many obstacles, and made many mistakes. Slowly the construction took shape, but setback after setback hit them until I genuinely thought they'd have to give up and scrap the project.

But they didn't. And the houseboat got finished to the point where they could at least move in (well, more like camping, really.)

But, in the final reckoning, Kevin McCloud ate a little humble pie. He conceded that, actually, the end product wasn't all that bad, and could be, perhaps, even - in a funny kind of way - a rather beautiful building. It was certainly distinctive!

So you see, even when it's real bricks and mortar, you can still let your designs evolve and embrace change.

I think I may have actually cheered at that point...

What was really interesting, though, was how it all only started to come together when they hired tradesmen who knew what they were doing...
Posted 14 years, 4 months ago on March 15, 2007