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Re: [XP] Tyranny of Flexible Scope?

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  • Paul McKerley
    ... good, ... the ... price ... Hi Jason: I can think of a couple considerations: as long as the choices aren t fatal, then the bad feeling resulting from a
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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      > I think the distinction is that no choice is bad, some choice is
      good,
      > but too much choice becomes bad again.
      >
      > If all I have to choose from is unnamed green things, I can blame
      the
      > East German government. External factor.
      >
      > If I get to choose from 10 different versions of chopped broccoli,
      > that might also be available at different prices at 10 different
      > stores... Well, if the selected broccoli ends up tasting like
      > cardboard and I also learn that I could have gotten it for half
      price
      > at another store, I might just blame myself. Internal factor.
      >

      Hi Jason:

      I can think of a couple considerations: as long as the choices aren't
      fatal, then the bad feeling resulting from a bad choice is part of the
      learning process. If you choose the wrong frozen broccoli in a market
      society, you can choose another variety the next day. Keep trying and
      eventually you'll feel good. In East Germany the bad feelings were
      eternal.

      The other consideration is that in many cases decisions still need to
      be made--the question is, who shall make them? In market societies the
      ideal is that the person most affected by a decision is the one who
      makes it and is responsible for the outcome. In planned economies the
      person making the decision bears none of the consequences. For
      example, it's likely that the senior East German bureaucrats
      responsible for vegetable production and distribution enjoyed a
      variety fresh fruits and vegetables every day, regardless of the fact
      that their decisions deprived most of their countrymen of the same.

      I'm just new to XP (just finished Extreme Programming
      Explained over Christmas) so I'm no expert on the practices or
      principles, but it seems to me that there are analogies here to
      XP--one of the values is that people are responsible for their
      decisions, good or bad.

      Paul
    • William Wake
      ... But the thesis is that it isn t true. Broccoli may not be the best demonstration of this. Think more like the computer market - suppose you really need a
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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        On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 15:15:49 -0000, Paul McKerley <mckerley@...> wrote:
        > I can think of a couple considerations: as long as the choices aren't
        > fatal, then the bad feeling resulting from a bad choice is part of the
        > learning process. If you choose the wrong frozen broccoli in a market
        > society, you can choose another variety the next day. Keep trying and
        > eventually you'll feel good.

        But the thesis is that it isn't true. Broccoli may not be the best
        demonstration of this. Think more like the computer market - suppose
        you really need a new computer and agonize over the choices. Then next
        month feature xyz comes out and you have this feeling like you're
        missing something. (The article that started this identified two sort
        of psychological poles, depending whether you felt this regret or
        not.)

        Don't forget there's a cost to all the choice too. By the time I've
        tried all the 10 current choices, there are a couple more out there.
        And don't forget the 7 kinds of okra, etc. I'm paying effort to keep
        track of all these differences, but they don't really add up to all
        that much. (I'm sure it was easier to shop for cars in Henry Ford's
        day - I'll take one model T, black; cars are certainly better now, but
        buying a new car is more work too:)

        My sister lived in Thailand for a couple years; she had a huge
        adjustment coming back to the states and feeling overwhelmed just
        looking at all the cereal choices in the grocery store.

        > The other consideration is that in many cases decisions still need to
        > be made--the question is, who shall make them? In market societies the
        > ideal is that the person most affected by a decision is the one who
        > makes it and is responsible for the outcome.

        That's the problem too, isn't it? Each supplier wants you to make one
        more decision. This creates an explosion of choices. And like most
        everybody else, I'm out there trying to create more choices for people
        too.

        --
        Bill Wake William.Wake@... www.xp123.com
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... I guess this is a deep question. Yet, to me, it s not. I don t like not having choices. I don t like people telling me what I can have and can t have, what
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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          On Sunday, January 2, 2005, at 1:32:48 PM, William Wake wrote:

          >> The other consideration is that in many cases decisions still need to
          >> be made--the question is, who shall make them? In market societies the
          >> ideal is that the person most affected by a decision is the one who
          >> makes it and is responsible for the outcome.

          > That's the problem too, isn't it? Each supplier wants you to make one
          > more decision. This creates an explosion of choices. And like most
          > everybody else, I'm out there trying to create more choices for people
          > too.

          I guess this is a deep question. Yet, to me, it's not. I don't like
          not having choices. I don't like people telling me what I can have
          and can't have, what I must do and what I may not do.

          Now that may seem odd, coming from a guy whose whole position on XP
          is "Do this, and someday you'll understand why." But it's actually
          quite consistent.

          I don't want anyone forced to do the practices of XP, or anything
          else. I want them to /choose/ to do the practices, to /choose/ to
          learn whatever they teach.

          When I go to taiji class, I don't expect to tell the instructor how
          to teach me. If he teaches me in a way that I don't like, I'll get
          another instructor. And I'll even tell him "when you did this, this
          happened to me, but when you did that ...". But when it comes down
          to it, in this class that I chose, he's the master ... not in the
          sense of I'm the slave, but in the sense of I'm the student. His job
          is to tell me what to do next, choosing in such a way as to cause me
          to learn something.

          I choose to learn, by trying things. I then learn to choose among a
          wider range of choices and, among them, to choose better.

          I choose choice.

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          It is better to have less thunder in the mouth
          and more lightning in the hand. -- Apache proverb
        • Bernard Choi
          ... Not to mention that the person making the choice may not be the one most qualified ? My son may be most affected by my choice of Broccoli or Chocolate for
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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            >>The other consideration is that in many cases decisions still need to
            >>be made--the question is, who shall make them? In market societies the
            >>ideal is that the person most affected by a decision is the one who
            >>makes it and is responsible for the outcome.
            >>
            >>
            >
            >That's the problem too, isn't it? Each supplier wants you to make one
            >more decision. This creates an explosion of choices. And like most
            >everybody else, I'm out there trying to create more choices for people
            >too.
            >
            >
            Not to mention that the person making the choice may not be the one most
            qualified ? My son may be most affected by my choice of Broccoli or
            Chocolate for dinner, but I still make the call.
          • Ron Jeffries
            ... If your son is 6, that s one thing. If he s 36, that s quite another. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com You are to act in the light of experience as guided
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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              On Sunday, January 2, 2005, at 1:59:08 PM, Bernard Choi wrote:

              >>That's the problem too, isn't it? Each supplier wants you to make one
              >>more decision. This creates an explosion of choices. And like most
              >>everybody else, I'm out there trying to create more choices for people
              >>too.
              >>
              >>
              > Not to mention that the person making the choice may not be the one most
              > qualified ? My son may be most affected by my choice of Broccoli or
              > Chocolate for dinner, but I still make the call.

              If your son is 6, that's one thing. If he's 36, that's quite
              another.

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              You are to act in the light of experience as guided by intelligence.
              -- Nero Wolfe
            • William Wake
              On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 13:48:24 -0500, Ron Jeffries ... I relate to that too. But I can certainly believe there can be too many choices. (Or worse, too many
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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                On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 13:48:24 -0500, Ron Jeffries
                <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                >
                > On Sunday, January 2, 2005, at 1:32:48 PM, William Wake wrote:
                > I don't like
                > not having choices. I don't like people telling me what I can have
                > and can't have, what I must do and what I may not do.

                I relate to that too. But I can certainly believe there can be too
                many choices. (Or worse, too many choices without a 'real'
                difference.) The SciAm article's claim was, "yes, you can have too
                many choices, and some people are there now."

                I remember the ads for toys, "limited only by your own imagination." I
                always thought, "Ooh - too bad." :)

                --
                Bill Wake William.Wake@... www.xp123.com
              • Kay Pentecost
                Hi, Everybody, Interesting thing about having a lot of choices. It seems to me that we always want more choices for ourselves... we can deal with the
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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                  Hi, Everybody,

                  Interesting thing about having a lot of choices.

                  It seems to me that we always want more choices for ourselves... we can deal
                  with the consequences of making a bad decision if we still have the choice
                  to correct it.

                  And yet, many of us want to limit the choices other people have.

                  For example, we create a software program that locks people into doing a
                  task a particular way. Or we modify an operating system command... say
                  aliasing "ls" as "ls -l" because we think the user won't want to/be able to?
                  learn the "right" way.

                  Do we project our fears onto others? I wonder if we think, yeah, I can deal
                  with lots of choices, but he/she/it will be confused?

                  Kay
                • Jason Yip
                  ... wrote: ... So my concern is that we re out there trying to create more choice for people without being aware of and preparing them for
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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                    --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, William Wake
                    <william.wake@g...> wrote:

                    ...
                    > That's the problem too, isn't it? Each supplier wants you to make one
                    > more decision. This creates an explosion of choices. And like most
                    > everybody else, I'm out there trying to create more choices for people
                    > too.

                    So my concern is that we're out there trying to create more choice for
                    people without being aware of and preparing them for the potential
                    negative psychological impact of additional choice.
                  • Larry Brunelle
                    Great comments, stimulating my own . . . ... It does depend about what is the choice. Most of us probably are very happy with the performance of our autonomic
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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                      Great comments, stimulating my own . . .

                      Kay Pentecost wrote:
                      > Hi, Everybody,
                      >
                      > Interesting thing about having a lot of choices.
                      >
                      > It seems to me that we always want more choices for ourselves...

                      It does depend about what is the choice. Most of us probably
                      are very happy with the performance of our autonomic nervous
                      systems. Pilots like autopilots. Automation is the very
                      antithesis of choice, in the small - yet it frees the user
                      to consider other choices at the preferred level of abstraction.

                      > we can deal with the consequences of making a bad decision if we still
                      > have the choice to correct it.

                      I can't say this is always true for me. My life is only
                      so long and I don't always want to backtrack and revise.
                      All things considered, I'd usually rather make the correct
                      decision in the first place if I could. I certainly like
                      the ability to recover when I have made a fool of myself,
                      but very many times the most efficient (and effective)
                      course is simply to learn from it and plow ahead.

                      > And yet, many of us want to limit the choices other people have.

                      Appropriate, again, in context. I think it is appropriate that
                      people not have the choice of driving on the left (in the US,
                      or on the right in Britain). I think it is appropriate that
                      people have the choice of OS for their respective personal
                      computers, but perhaps not for employer machines where that
                      would impose maintenance issues.

                      > For example, we create a software program that locks people into
                      > doing a task a particular way. Or we modify an operating system
                      > command... say aliasing "ls" as "ls -l" because we think the user
                      > won't want to/be able to? learn the "right" way.

                      Isn't this a role issue? If the role one has is to produce
                      something that behaves in a guaranteed and predictable way,
                      probably one wil restrict the choices others may have. Also,
                      suppose you automate a workflow, and further suppose you have
                      actually studied closely the behaviors of those staff most
                      effective in that workflow to determine the path of fewest
                      errors and least effort. Suppose your automation enforces or
                      at least favors that path so that other staff are led to work
                      in the same effective way. Is that wrong?

                      OTOH, if the role of the staff is to be making decisions of
                      a certain nature, the software should not be restricting or
                      leading those decisions.

                      > Do we project our fears onto others? I wonder if we think, yeah, I
                      > can deal with lots of choices, but he/she/it will be confused?

                      Again, I think there is a role issue. It seems to me that one
                      principle of user interfaces is not to give users choices that
                      don't add value. If you can do something in a standard way,
                      and it works well for all concerned, why offer a choice?
                      I myself don't usually mind choices made for me if they are
                      made intelligently to work for me and actually do work for me.
                      I don't think I'd benefit, for instance, by having the choice
                      of controlling my car with reins instead of a steering wheel.

                      So it seems to me that some choices fall naturally into the
                      role of the designer rather than the user. And the designer
                      has the responsibility to make them correctly to serve the
                      user. (Sort of like our representative governments, and
                      wouldn't we all wish they would observe the principle!)

                      One kinda free-floating point:
                      We often don't use what choice we have about how much choice
                      we employ. Consider the micro-managing manager: this
                      person could CHOOSE to delegate sets of choices to others and
                      presumably concentrate efforts on choices more appropriate and
                      beneficial to the organization. And, in some cases, to
                      recognize the unstated choices - the creative "write-ins" that
                      could potentiate staff's present abilities or leverage existing
                      products or processes, etc.
                    • Paul McKerley
                      ... Very true--but even now people demand more choice. There s a booming after-market adding vinyl roofs to brand new Chrysler 300s (which the manufacturer
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jan 2, 2005
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                        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, William Wake
                        <william.wake@g...> wrote:
                        > (I'm sure it was easier to shop for cars in Henry Ford's
                        > day - I'll take one model T, black; cars are certainly better now, but
                        > buying a new car is more work too:)
                        >

                        Very true--but even now people demand more choice. There's a booming
                        after-market adding vinyl roofs to brand new Chrysler 300s (which the
                        manufacturer won't install.) Go figure.

                        Paul
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