Pool Edge – A Way of Looking At Risk Mitigation

When swimming in a pool, if you swim along one edge, or along the perpendicular edge, you are always within arm’s reach of the edge. If you swim out away from both edges to the middle of the pool, you have nothing to grab a hold of, hence there is increased risk of drowning.

The idea here is that most hardware designs take a vendor’s reference design and then adapt it with as few changes as possible to their own custom hardware design. The idea here is that you remain close to a known working “edge”. When you customize in multiple areas at the same time, there is increased risk both from the perspective of making a mistake, and from the perspective that you may stumble upon errata, especially when dealing with bleeding edge technology.

We tend to be a bit naive, assuming that everyone knows what they are doing. With bleeding edge technology, we are inventing it. In other words we are making it all up as we go.

Reinventing Middle-ware

Darcy L. Watkins – July 9, 2024

In the 1990’s I saw a center fold ad depicting a technical professional buried in his desk papers working late at night. The caption read, “We would like to thank you for all your late nights spent reinventing middle-ware”. When you go to the opposite page, it read “Signed, the competition”.

That stunned me. I realized that any time and effort reinventing stuff that could easily be adapted from readily available sources, could be construed as time spent working for the competition.

This ties into the concept of revenue generating versus cost control. The effort may be a great idea to save time or control costs later, but the gist of the ad was that development should focus on the mandate of development and not get overly distracted with process improvement tools. (The ad was from a middle-ware vendor).

This is not to say that streamlining process is a bad thing. It just needs to be part of a development mandate, not sneaked in.