I love doing DIY – ok maybe love is not the correct term. I’ve had an addiction to it since a kid and done it forever. It’s probably just a part of why I wanted to be an Engineer since an early age. Everyone around me was struggling with what they wanted to do. I never had those issues. The only concern I had was do I want to make the microprocessors or use them in software.¬†Fast forward a few decades and I have a two house overhauls and a bunch of other things in my past.

Some dirty – I had to replace all the sewer lines in my first house but paid for it to be done the next time.

Some beneficial – Replacing all the carpeting in the house with bamboo hardwood. My allergies loved me for that

Some detrimental to my marriage – Replacing the roof on our first house and just get the plywood down after taking off two layers of asphalt over wood shingle. Ready to tack down the moisture barrier on a lazy Sunday morning in the middle of a two week vacation. Your boss drives up to your house to ask you to do an emergency trip to a critical customer. For a week. In Honolulu. That cost a lot of wife points.

All of these experiences play back through my thought processes in the latest project for the grandkids

The stakeholders were clearly defined. The Wife – not grandkids. Getting this correct is critical.

The requirements were reasonably laid out. Summer with Grandma? Need a playground to wear their 5 and 7 year old butts off. Specifics? hmmm that’s was a little scary.

The deadlines were a little fuzzy. This is a long term product delivery that will be used for years (Youngest grandchild is 6 months). So it needed immediate functionality and could be enhanced in further iterations. There was an ability to deliver incremental customer value. I originally made the frame of the structure with the swing set but the overlook, the rock wall, the slide all were delivered in future sprints. Being able to break down the customer requirements into incremental releases pleased the customers, the budget and the staff (My body from not having to kill myself for a week straight on it).

At this point there is ability for future enhancements (A sandbox in the base with Anti-Cat features). There are companion products available – I am reducing the third acre of grass to mow via garden beds and a few dozen yards of bark dust around a dozen fruit trees. A side benefit is a levelling of the yard. You may note the base of the play structure is elevated 6 inches from the ‘current’ base of the ground. I planned ahead to the build it to the desired level. It may be a little goofy today but later this summer when ~15 yards of bark dust level the area it will fit right in.

What the heck does all this mean???

Don’t be overwhelmed by the process du jour in software dev. Engineering principles go back to Roman, Egyptian, Chinese times with greater efforts then any flappy bird cloud enabled fart app on your internet connected refrigerator. Reach outside your norms and see how things are built that are not software. The principles of other efforts can help you focus on the struggles in your organization and projects.