Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Principle Driven Design

When you need to get something done quickly, and it's likely to involve a lot of discussion, one of the tactics I sometimes take is to get everyone to agree upon the principles which are important to us, and then to agree that we will apply those principles in our work.

It's quite effective, and can also be helpful when you have a solo project that is confused by lots of little different relationships between things.  If you work to establish what the relationships are in reproducable ways, and connect them, what you wind up with is a design that goes from a set of principles ... or even, simple mathematical relationships.  And the output is a function of the application of those principles.

It works quite well, and when things pop out that are odd, or don't work out, I find they are usually a result of some principle being applied inappropriately, or that your data is telling you about some outlier you haven't considered.  When HL7 completed the C-CDA 2.1 implementation guide in 6 weeks (a new record I think for updating a standard), we applied this tactic.

Having spent quite a few weeks dealing with the implementation details, I can tell you that it seems to have worked quite well.  And my most recent solo foray into obscure implementation details was also completed quite quickly.


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