The Star Wars / Software Development Paradigm

Ice Battle On Hoth

In preparation of Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens, I, like many others are watching the other 6 films.   An experience I am inflicting on, sharing with my partner with mixed success.

123 vs 456

My partner had never seen Star Wars Episodes 1, 2 and 3 (lucky her you may say, I might agree), and was actively against the idea of “wasting time” doing so.  As films in their own right, generally I could take them or leave them but I also understand the relative importance of knowing how Darth Vader came to be, and quite enjoy the completeness of watching them all in the correct order (that’s another story).

It occurred to me that in having this conversation, it was actually pretty similar to conversations I regularly find myself having at work…

Episodes 4, 5, 6

  • Everyone wants to see Star Wars Episodes 4, 5 and 6.
  • Everyone wants to see the ice battle on Hoth.
Ice Battle On Hoth
Ice Battle On Hoth

Episodes 4, 5 and 6 are the end product, the piece that everyone is interested in seeing and spending time watching.

Compare the above with the below :

  • Everyone wants to see UI changes, new reports, new products.

Episodes 1, 2, 3

  • No one is overly fussed about Star Wars Episodes 1, 2 and 3.
  • No one wants to see Jar Jar Binks.
Jar Jar Binks
Jar Jar Binks

Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are the groundwork, “the necessary evil”, the “Dark Side” of the boxset.

Compare the above with the below :

  • “Business Users” aren’t interested in API changes, technology refreshes, where you get the data from to put on their shiny new reports.

May the Force be with you

Can you have one set of films without the other (until Episode 1 came out in 1999, apparently yes but let’s overlook that for now), can you have a new report with no data to report on?

It’s our job to ensure that the necessary ground work is done in order to allow for the value-adding elements of our job to be achieved.  Business users know (or think they know) what their destination is, they generally have no idea how to get there, in much the same way as my partner had no idea how young Anakin turns to the Dark Side.  It’s our job to be honest with them, use Jedi mind tricks if you have to and steer them in the right direction through all of the relevant pre-requisites to get to their goal.

These are not the Droids you're looking for
These are not the Droids you’re looking for

As I write this we’ve just finished Episode 2 and all is going well so far!

Have you ever been in similar situations?

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