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Things we can learn from the restaurant business

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  • Michael Feathers
    I was thinking about this a lot the other day after I watched a cooking show. I have some initial thoughts here:
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 1, 2005
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      I was thinking about this a lot the other day after I watched a cooking
      show. I have some initial thoughts here:

      http://blogs.objectmentor.com/ArticleS.MichaelFeathers.WorkingClean


      Michael Feathers
      www.objectmentor.com
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Very thought-provoking, Michael. Thanks! Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions. -- David Hume
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 1, 2005
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        On Thursday, September 1, 2005, at 10:37:39 AM, Michael Feathers wrote:

        > I was thinking about this a lot the other day after I watched a cooking
        > show. I have some initial thoughts here:

        > http://blogs.objectmentor.com/ArticleS.MichaelFeathers.WorkingClean

        Very thought-provoking, Michael. Thanks!

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions. -- David Hume
      • Steven J. Owens
        ... I ll reserve my reaction until I hear back from a friend who used to manage one of the nicer restaraunts around here :-). Actually, note the used to ,
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 1, 2005
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          On Thu, Sep 01, 2005 at 01:02:37PM -0400, Ron Jeffries wrote:
          > On Thursday, September 1, 2005, at 10:37:39 AM, Michael Feathers wrote:
          >
          > > I was thinking about this a lot the other day after I watched a cooking
          > > show. I have some initial thoughts here:
          >
          > > http://blogs.objectmentor.com/ArticleS.MichaelFeathers.WorkingClean
          >
          > Very thought-provoking, Michael. Thanks!

          I'll reserve my reaction until I hear back from a friend who used
          to manage one of the nicer restaraunts around here :-). Actually,
          note the "used to", he's decided to get out of that industry.

          I actually found that essay a useful example of something I was
          trying to explain to him the other day, about meta-skills and
          determining the underlying qualities of the job he used to do, and
          what he really enjoyed and excelled at, and seeing how to look for
          those qualities in other professions.

          I think "working clean" is comparable to the cognitive load
          imposed by entropy building up in the code. It's important to stay in
          the habit of minimizing the code entropy.

          --
          Steven J. Owens
          puff@...

          "I'm going to make broad, sweeping generalizations and strong,
          declarative statements, because otherwise I'll be here all night and
          this document will be four times longer and much less fun to read.
          Take it all with a grain of salt." - http://darksleep.com/notablog
        • Nancy Van Schooenderwoert
          ... I find myself looking for analogies with other types of work when I need to get a non-software person to understand why some of the invisible stuff is so
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 1, 2005
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            On Thu, 2005-09-01 at 10:37, Michael Feathers wrote:
            > I was thinking about this a lot the other day after I watched a cooking
            > show. I have some initial thoughts here:
            >
            > http://blogs.objectmentor.com/ArticleS.MichaelFeathers.WorkingClean
            >

            I find myself looking for analogies with other types of work when I
            need to get a non-software person to understand why some of the
            "invisible stuff" is so vital in software. This is a nice analogy with
            cooking because everyone can identify with cooking.

            Another analogy I've been thinking about is carpentry. Good carpenters
            clean up the sawdust and wood chips as they go because it can be a
            safety hazard, and as it piles up it will slow down their work. Another
            situation where "Clean as you go" is a good motto.

            --
            -----------------------------------------------------------------------
            Nancy Van Schooenderwoert Agile Rules
            nancyv@... http://www.agilerules.com
            -----------------------------------------------------------------------
          • Brad Appleton
            ... I can speak to this somewhat since my brother is a chef, and I stayed with him one summer during one of my first internships while he was going to culinary
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 2, 2005
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              Steven J. Owens wrote:

              > I think "working clean" is comparable to the cognitive load
              > imposed by entropy building up in the code. It's important to stay in
              > the habit of minimizing the code entropy.

              I can speak to this somewhat since my brother is a chef, and I stayed
              with him one summer during one of my first internships while he was
              going to culinary school.

              One aspect of working clean is definitely about reducing
              load/clutter/waste so that you can keep your work sharp and fast and
              efficient.

              Another aspect of it is about safety and sanitation. If you dont keep
              some of the bigger or sharper things "clean" (or "sharp") when trying to
              use them, they can definitely become a serious safety risk. A not quite
              sharp/smooth knife, or industrial strength blender, or industrial size
              mixer can do some very significant damage when trying to use them at
              high speed.

              And there is the sanitation part of "safety" (safe not just for me, but
              for my customers/consumers). A little extra flour on a bowl, by itself,
              may not seem bad. If there are even trace amounts of egg, milk, cream,
              butter, fish, poultry, etc, and if the surfaces arent regualrly wiped
              clean with something that will sterilize it, then you are putting the
              health of the restaurant (or the judges :-) at risk. And of course the
              damage to PR and the business that could result from even minor
              incidences of food poisoning. (e.g., if two people get it in the same
              night, week, or even month, its hard to perceive as a sheer fluke
              occurrence).

              --
              Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
              Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
              Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
              "And miles to go before I sleep" --Robert Frost
            • Brad Appleton
              ... Clean as you go makes me think of the saying trim as you sew -- which brinsg to mind a story :-) When I was in elementary school and if I was sick and
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 2, 2005
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                Nancy Van Schooenderwoert wrote:
                > Another analogy I've been thinking about is carpentry. Good carpenters
                > clean up the sawdust and wood chips as they go because it can be a
                > safety hazard, and as it piles up it will slow down their work. Another
                > situation where "Clean as you go" is a good motto.

                "Clean as you go" makes me think of the saying "trim as you sew" --
                which brinsg to mind a story :-)

                When I was in elementary school and if I was sick and had to stay home
                from school, often I ended up on the couch watching TV and trying to
                figure out who the heck watched any of those shows that had on during
                the daytime (except for the cartoons of course :-). My mom wasnt into
                "soap operas", she liked a few of the game shows, and a few of the shows
                about being handy around the house (cooking, sewing, woodworking).

                One show she would watch was about sewing (I forget the name), and it
                had some guy on it that sorta reminded me a teensy bit of Liberace, but
                with silver hair and "playing" a sewing machine instead of a piano. He
                was always railing every show about how you should "trim as you sew".

                He had this pet peeve about the clothing one would buy in most clothing
                stores and how they never trimmed the loose threads off the garments
                before they put them on the rack. He said not only is it easy to do if
                you do it while you are sewing it, and BEFORE you begin the next "track"
                of stitching, but it actually helps you sew faster and more accurately,
                and decreases the likelihood of errors or runs/rips because the loose
                dangling threads can get caught on things, and ruin the line of the
                stitch or cause the cloth to bunch-up at the wrong time, or even knot-up
                the garment in a way that made it pretty darn hard to recover the same
                piece without having to start with a new piece of cloth.

                So dont forget to "trim as you sew" lest you "reap what you sew" (and
                then have to "sew what you ripped" :-)

                --
                Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
                Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
                Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
                "And miles to go before I sleep" --Robert Frost
              • Willem Bogaerts
                ... As I recall from the blog (I read it yesterday), a restaurant kitchen does not look what you d expect. Now why is that? In Holland, but I assume in other
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 2, 2005
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                  >>>I was thinking about this a lot the other day after I watched a cooking
                  >>>show. I have some initial thoughts here:
                  >>
                  >>>http://blogs.objectmentor.com/ArticleS.MichaelFeathers.WorkingClean

                  As I recall from the blog (I read it yesterday), a restaurant kitchen
                  does not look what you'd expect. Now why is that? In Holland, but I
                  assume in other western countries as well, there is a vast amount of
                  rules that shapes that kitchen. And some rules contradict. There is an
                  ergonomical rule that says a kitchen floor must be rough (as liquid can
                  be spilled and you must not fall) and another rule says it must be
                  smooth (so you can clean it better). The rules even come to unnecessary
                  detail, for instance saying that some parts must be made of stainless
                  steel. You have a problem if you want to start a medieval restaurant.

                  I read somewhere that the kitchen rules originally come from NASA rules
                  for food in space. It is normal for NASA to demand sterile processing to
                  allow for longer storage time. The grocery simply isn't next-door in a
                  space shuttle. Somebody must have thought "You can't get cleaner than
                  this, so this must be the new standard."

                  So if that is true, the restaurant kitchens really ARE "not of this
                  world". If the same choking rules would apply for programmers as for
                  cooks, I would have chosen another profession.

                  Best regards,
                  Willem Bogaerts.
                • Bryan Nehl
                  ... So you end up with a tile or other smooth surface floor and rubber mats that you throw down on top providing your rough surface. Check out the 3rd mat on
                  Message 8 of 8 , Sep 12, 2005
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                    > Willem Bogaerts
                    > ... And
                    > some rules contradict. There is an ergonomical rule that says
                    > a kitchen floor must be rough (as liquid can be spilled and
                    > you must not fall) and another rule says it must be smooth
                    > (so you can clean it better). ...

                    So you end up with a tile or other "smooth" surface floor and rubber
                    mats that you throw down on top providing your rough surface.
                    Check out the 3rd mat on
                    http://www.hubert.com/store/catalog/c/203/s/1667/page.htm

                    Applications *do* have problems like this. We just have to bring our
                    creativity to the situation.

                    Bryan D Nehl
                    Software Development Team Lead
                    Missouri Gaming Commission: IT
                    bryan.nehl@... 573-526-4090
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