Randomness and Design

12 Apr

Today, I attended a meeting which I should not have attended. It was at 9.00 in the morning. I felt that the meeting was useless. The meeting coordinator wasn’t prepared at all. He wasn’t able to answer our questions and doubts. The flow of the meeting was less than optimal (it sucked!) and we were left confused and uncertain about a lot of matters. The coordinator did not prepare well for that meeting. In other words, he did not plan and design the flow of meeting, he did not anticipate the questions and doubts that we had, and he pushed everything to next week, urging us to come, which by then, probably is already too late.

My day job as a teacher requires me to plan and design the lessons for my class. The materials taught to the students should be presented in a way that is entertaining and fun and yet, informative. I felt it was fun but i’m not sure about the students.-:) Of course, there are days when randomness sets precedence over design. Everything just happens without any prior thought and the results can be unpredictable. Like the other day when I decided to buy a car. It was an “out of the blue” decision. I did not plan to buy a car on January, February, or March. I did not set out to do research on which car to buy and how much I have to spend on fuel, installments , etc. It started when I read a pamphlet with pictures of several cars for sale. The pictures looked nice, and the price was reasonable. I got some feedback from a colleague and also from my brother, who also happened to be a car consultant (a nice way to say it.:-)) and lo and behold, I’ll be getting a new car by next week.

Design is often mixed together with randomness. Take for example, the process of writing a program. Usually, before coding, you need to draw a flowchart of the problem that is to be solved and if it involves a database, you need to draw an Entity-Relationship diagram to model the data. Then if your program contains many processes, you need to construct a data-flow-diagram to visualize the processes. The requirement is more stringent if the program to be developed uses some object-oriented language. You probably need to create use case diagrams, class diagrams, object diagrams, and statecharts. Painful isn’t it. Why not jump straight to code? These additional overhead to the actual process of programming are created to eliminate the possibility of randomness, especially with regards to the time a particular program can be completed. But even with all these new methodologies and paradigms, most programming projects still cannot be completed on time. Here, the random factor sets in. What is the random factor? I can safely say that we, humans are the random factor. Programs are not developed by robots, they are developed by people. No matter how good a particular methodology is, there is always a way to break it because programs, methodology, and plans are created by people, and people are by nature, random. In fact I planned to write something different when I started writing this post but it ended out this way. What the heck!

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2 Responses to “Randomness and Design”

  1. cie April 18, 2008 at 3:35 am #

    I’m sure they had fun in your class 😉 but sometimes we can’t tell because one minute they told you they understand and has no questions but when answering quizzes..they’re begging you for an open book quiz…hahaha

  2. Tino April 18, 2008 at 5:20 am #

    Wah cie, ko pun ber blogging juga pula..ya, students will always be students..

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