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reason meme

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    Not only are you correct, you are profoundly correct. The trouble is, not being a reasoning being, I can t deduce the logical consequences of that powerful
    Message 1 of 19 , Aug 28, 2001
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      Not only are you correct, you are profoundly correct. The trouble is, not
      being a reasoning being, I can't deduce the logical consequences of that
      powerful lead-in.

      In a message dated 8/27/01 10:44:17 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
      extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:


      > John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
      > Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
      > PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
      > New Zealand
      >
      > I'm becoming less and less convinced of humans as rational beings.
      > I suspect we are merely meme collectors, and the reason meme is only
      > kept on to help count our change.
      >
      >



      Alistair Cockburn
      Humans and Technology

      Author of "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects"
      and the Jolt Productivity Award winning "Writing Effective Use Cases"

      7691 Dell Rd.
      Salt Lake City, UT 84121
      Work Phone: 801.947.9275
      Fax: 775.416.6457
      write to: alistair.cockburn@...
      http://members.aol.com/acockburn
      http://www.crystalmethodologies.org
      http://www.usecases.org



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bryan Dollery
      I thought that consiousness was just an emergent illusion, caused by the nearly chaotic complexity of our brain and the rather simple elements of which it is
      Message 2 of 19 , Aug 29, 2001
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        I thought that consiousness was just an emergent illusion, caused by the
        nearly chaotic complexity of our brain and the rather simple elements of
        which it is constructed, that can do little but contemplate how its
        impossible to contemplate itself, and ignore how important it is to do just
        that.

        Bryan

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: acockburn@... [mailto:acockburn@...]
        > Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 4:42 AM
        > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [XP] reason meme
        >
        >
        > Not only are you correct, you are profoundly correct. The
        > trouble is, not
        > being a reasoning being, I can't deduce the logical consequences of that
        > powerful lead-in.
        >
        > In a message dated 8/27/01 10:44:17 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
        > extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:
        >
        >
        > > John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
        > > Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
        > > PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
        > > New Zealand
        > >
        > > I'm becoming less and less convinced of humans as rational beings.
        > > I suspect we are merely meme collectors, and the reason meme is only
        > > kept on to help count our change.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > Alistair Cockburn
        > Humans and Technology
        >
        > Author of "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects"
        > and the Jolt Productivity Award winning "Writing Effective Use Cases"
        >
        > 7691 Dell Rd.
        > Salt Lake City, UT 84121
        > Work Phone: 801.947.9275
        > Fax: 775.416.6457
        > write to: alistair.cockburn@...
        > http://members.aol.com/acockburn
        > http://www.crystalmethodologies.org
        > http://www.usecases.org
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
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        >
      • Dale Emery
        Hi Bryan, ... Sounds as if you ve been reading Daniel Dennett s Consciousness Explained, which would more aptly have been titled Consciousness Explained
        Message 3 of 19 , Aug 29, 2001
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          Hi Bryan,

          > I thought that consiousness was just an emergent illusion, caused by
          > the nearly chaotic complexity of our brain and the rather simple
          > elements of which it is constructed, that can do little but
          > contemplate how its impossible to contemplate itself, and ignore how
          > important it is to do just that.

          Sounds as if you've been reading Daniel Dennett's "Consciousness
          Explained," which would more aptly have been titled "Consciousness
          Explained Away." ;-)

          Dale
        • Louis Richer
          ... Slight tangent here but have any of you read Julian Jaynes, The origin of consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind ? I m about 100 pages in,
          Message 4 of 19 , Aug 29, 2001
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            Bryan Dollery wrote:
            > I thought that consiousness was just an emergent illusion,
            > caused by the
            > nearly chaotic complexity of our brain and the rather simple
            > elements of
            > which it is constructed, that can do little but contemplate how its
            > impossible to contemplate itself, and ignore how important it
            > is to do just
            > that.

            Slight tangent here but have any of you read Julian Jaynes, "The origin of
            consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind"? I'm about 100 pages
            in, he has a very interesting theory of consciousness. It also has a great
            discussion of the role of metaphor in consciousness ...

            louis@...
          • Dan Palanza
            ... I read it. It made quite a splash when it appeared, 25 years ago. I thought the book was pretty bad. At the time, I thought it was the title s reference to
            Message 5 of 19 , Aug 29, 2001
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              Louis Richer wrote:

              >Slight tangent here but have any of you read Julian Jaynes, "The origin of
              >consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind"? I'm about 100 pages
              >in, he has a very interesting theory of consciousness. It also has a great
              >discussion of the role of metaphor in consciousness ...

              I read it. It made quite a splash when it appeared, 25 years ago. I thought
              the book was pretty bad. At the time, I thought it was the title's
              reference to a bicameral mind that generated the primal interest in
              readers. It was about ten years before when Sperry began publishing work on
              hemispheres with different patterns of reasoning.

              Dan
            • acockburn@aol.com
              ... consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind ? I m about 100 pages in, he has a very interesting theory of consciousness. It also has a great
              Message 6 of 19 , Aug 29, 2001
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                Louis Richer wrote:
                >Slight tangent here but have any of you read Julian Jaynes, "The origin of>
                consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind"? I'm about 100 pages>
                in, he has a very interesting theory of consciousness. It also has a great
                discussion of the role of metaphor in consciousness ...
                >>I read it. It made quite a splash when it appeared, 25 years ago. I
                thoughtthe book was pretty bad. At the time, I thought it was the
                title'sreference to a bicameral mind that generated the primal interest
                inreaders. It was about ten years before when Sperry began publishing work
                onhemispheres with different patterns of reasoning.

                I just found it year ago. I couldn't have understood it 25 years ago. I liked
                the first chapter, which was written within his specialty, and I read the
                bulk of the book at hypersonic speeds. I then ripped the book after that
                first chapter, kept that and threw away the 1,000 pages of history. haven't
                regretted it yet.

                I still refer to his theory from time to time. I don't really think it will
                be proven correct in the end, but it's a better model of consciousness than
                any competing one I've found, adn the metaphor/metaphrand business I use. I
                also use the "consciousness is the verbal manipulations of a map" idea a lot.

                alistair




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bryan Dollery
                Dale Emery wrote ... Actually no, I haven t. Is it any good? B
                Message 7 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                  Dale Emery wrote
                  > Hi Bryan,
                  >
                  > > I thought that consiousness was just an emergent illusion, caused by
                  > > the nearly chaotic complexity of our brain and the rather simple
                  > > elements of which it is constructed, that can do little but
                  > > contemplate how its impossible to contemplate itself, and ignore how
                  > > important it is to do just that.
                  >
                  > Sounds as if you've been reading Daniel Dennett's "Consciousness
                  > Explained," which would more aptly have been titled "Consciousness
                  > Explained Away." ;-)
                  >

                  Actually no, I haven't. Is it any good?
                  B
                • Dan Palanza
                  ... liked ... Thanks for this tip, Alistair. Few things nicer than to know I only have to reread the first chapter :-) I will. It will be fun to see if I now
                  Message 8 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                    acockburn@... wrote:

                    >I just found it year ago. I couldn't have understood it 25 years ago. I
                    liked
                    >the first chapter, which was written within his specialty, and I read the
                    >bulk of the book at hypersonic speeds.

                    Thanks for this tip, Alistair. Few things nicer than to know I only have to
                    reread the first chapter :-) I will. It will be fun to see if I now see it
                    differently.

                    That happened to me once before in a dramatic way, on rereading a book I
                    read twenty years earlier. Things do change ;-)

                    Dan
                  • Louis Richer
                    ... Can you suggest a good follow up to bring me up to date on consciousness theory. Thanks, Louis
                    Message 9 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                      > I read it. It made quite a splash when it appeared, 25 years
                      > ago. I thought
                      > the book was pretty bad. At the time, I thought it was the title's
                      > reference to a bicameral mind that generated the primal interest in
                      > readers. It was about ten years before when Sperry began
                      > publishing work on
                      > hemispheres with different patterns of reasoning.
                      >
                      > Dan
                      Can you suggest a good follow up to bring me up to date on consciousness
                      theory.
                      Thanks,

                      Louis
                    • Bryan Dollery
                      Louis Richer ... Not yet, would you recommend it? Bryan
                      Message 10 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                        Louis Richer
                        > Slight tangent here but have any of you read Julian Jaynes, "The origin of
                        > consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind"?

                        Not yet, would you recommend it?

                        Bryan
                      • Kenneth Tyler
                        ... Brian, Quite good. It has a viewpoint on how control happens that fits quite nicely with xp. Kenneth Tyler www.tinyxp.com berkeley, ca
                        Message 11 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                          > > Sounds as if you've been reading Daniel Dennett's "Consciousness
                          > > Explained," which would more aptly have been titled "Consciousness
                          > > Explained Away." ;-)
                          > >
                          >
                          > Actually no, I haven't. Is it any good?
                          Brian,
                          Quite good. It has a viewpoint on how "control" happens that fits quite
                          nicely with xp.
                          Kenneth Tyler www.tinyxp.com berkeley, ca
                        • Dale Emery
                          Hi Bryan, ... I liked it. It s typical Dennett. If you ve read any of his other stuff, you ll like it just about as much as his other stuff. If not, this is
                          Message 12 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                            Hi Bryan,

                            > > Sounds as if you've been reading Daniel Dennett's "Consciousness
                            > > Explained," which would more aptly have been titled "Consciousness
                            > > Explained Away." ;-)
                            > >
                            >
                            > Actually no, I haven't. Is it any good?

                            I liked it. It's typical Dennett. If you've read any of his other
                            stuff, you'll like it just about as much as his other stuff. If not,
                            this is as good place to start as any of his books.

                            When I finish reading any of Dennett's books, I'm never quite sure
                            what his conclusion is, or even whether he has stated one. But along
                            the way, I've had a lot of fun thinking odd thoughts.

                            Dale
                          • Louis Richer
                            ... Based on the first 100 pages, definitely. But you might want to consider Alistair Cockburn s comments from a previous reply. In case you missed it Alistair
                            Message 13 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                              > Responding to: Bryan Dollery [mailto:Bryan.Dollery@...]
                              > > Slight tangent here but have any of you read Julian Jaynes,
                              > "The origin of
                              > > consciousness in the break-down of the bicameral mind"?
                              >
                              > Not yet, would you recommend it?
                              >
                              > Bryan
                              Based on the first 100 pages, definitely. But you might want to consider
                              Alistair Cockburn's comments from a previous reply. In case you missed it
                              Alistair wrote:
                              "I just found it year ago. I couldn't have understood it 25 years
                              ago. I liked
                              the first chapter, which was written within his specialty, and I
                              read the
                              bulk of the book at hypersonic speeds. I then ripped the book after
                              that
                              first chapter, kept that and threw away the 1,000 pages of history.
                              haven't
                              regretted it yet.

                              I still refer to his theory from time to time. I don't really think
                              it will
                              be proven correct in the end, but it's a better model of
                              consciousness than
                              any competing one I've found, adn the metaphor/metaphrand business I
                              use. I
                              also use the "consciousness is the verbal manipulations of a map"
                              idea a lot.

                              alistair"

                              Louis
                            • John Carter
                              ... Perhaps having been the most idealistic of rationalists, I have grown overly cynical.... The predictive power of science is vastly over hyped. Mostly what
                              Message 14 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                                On Tue, 28 Aug 2001 acockburn@... wrote:

                                > Not only are you correct, you are profoundly correct. The trouble is, not
                                > being a reasoning being, I can't deduce the logical consequences of that
                                > powerful lead-in.

                                Perhaps having been the most idealistic of rationalists, I have grown
                                overly cynical....

                                The predictive power of science is vastly over hyped. Mostly what happens
                                is we observe the consequences and then go scrabbling in our meme attics
                                for one that fits the shape of events.

                                If by some strange turn of the events that meme allows us to predict what
                                happens next, or makes us feel good, or earns us status or..., that
                                meme is granted a hallowed seat in our collection.

                                The somewhat undignified means by which the meme gained that status is
                                usually soon forgotten.

                                So what are the logical consequences of all this? I would say too complex
                                and hairy to contemplate. That is why for the most part no one cares about
                                logical consequences. They are inevitably too hairy to contemplate.

                                What uses may we put these thoughts to? Now that is a more useful
                                question...

                                My .sig that started this thread came from observing my children.

                                Children are the most fertile meme gardens. It is almost impossible to
                                instruct a child. They simply do not to listen to what you command. They
                                collect the memes in what you say.

                                They will collect the tones of voice, the postures, the phrases in
                                what you say. The actual command is merely an empty carrier for the
                                more interesting memes such as..

                                1) One can give another a command. (Tidy up this mess!) comes out
                                shortly as (Give me that sweet!)

                                2) Loud instructions are (perhaps) more effective than spoken
                                instructions. (CLEAN UP THIS MESS, NOW!) emerges as (I WANT THAT
                                SWEET, NOW!)

                                3) etc. etc.

                                In fact there clearly is a built in meme immune system at work. (Dad:-
                                This is a DISGUSTING MESS!) (Kid:- Accepting that meme means
                                work, I'm not taking that one on board...)

                                Unfortunately, we make the same mistake in our interactions with other
                                adults. We should realise by the time we hit 19+ we come prepacked
                                chock-a-block full of hard to dislodge memes and a very healthy meme
                                immune system....

                                We have long meetings assuming that some form of rational discourse is
                                going on, decisions are being made and that instructions are flowing.

                                Wrong. We are meme gardens. A more astute observer of a meeting would
                                not record its proceedings in the format of ISO 9001 minutes. A more
                                astute observer (holding memes 132 and 166 in his current collection)
                                would record the meeting as....

                                blah TEAM_BONDING blah factoid_1 blah blah blah CONFIRM_MEME_132
                                blah blah blah CONFIRM_MEME_166 blah factoid_2.

                                Now suppose he held meme 214, which is mutually exclusive to meme
                                313. Then his record of a meeting where his colleague Greg presented
                                his case for 313 may look like...
                                blah blah REFUTE_MEME_214 blah CONFIRM_MEME_313 blah blah.

                                However humans are seldom that objective. The record would probably go....
                                blah blah GREG_IS_A_TWIT blah GREG_IS_A_TWIT blah blah

                                Sometimes (rarely) a valuable new meme goes by, novelty does accord
                                any meme a passing value within the meme garden as we contemplate
                                whether it fits.

                                So how do you use this view of the universe? Difficult, since the only
                                memes that one can insert within a meme garden are powerful memes that
                                are compatible with the current population of memes. ie. Rule 1...

                                It pays to either have a pool of memes in common with those you
                                would work or at least a working knowledge of the memes that occupy
                                them.

                                Fortunately memes, unlike hard logic, are fuzzy things. Memes do not
                                require the hard, clean fit with previous axioms and theorems to be
                                accepted. They merely require the same style, flavour and direction.

                                Persuasion is the art of dressing a new meme in the ethnic style of
                                the recipients current meme collection.

                                Other observations on the subject are...

                                * Halitosis stinks less than a meme offensive to the common pool of
                                memes.

                                * Memes are shy. They don't like to be contemplated as memes. They
                                much prefer to be viewed as "being the way the world just is"
                                rather than merely yet another meme. The mind reacts with a
                                revulsion, discrediting the source of the question, a wriggling
                                away, interrupting the flow of thoughts when its inner memes are
                                contemplated. ("OF COURSE WE DISCUSS THINGS RATIONALLY!")

                                * There is a strong overlap between the notions of "a common pool of
                                memes" and the notion of a "consensus reality".

                                * Many social processes rely on manipulating and strengthening this
                                common pool. Contemplate how many of the XP practices fit this
                                description.

                                It pays at some level to realise that XP is social engineering to
                                achieve an aim. It is not a Rational Methodology in several senses of
                                the term!

                                This is a weakness in the sense that those who defend XP purely on
                                rational grounds will lose. It is a strength because programs are
                                written by social beings, not rational automata.

                                John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
                                Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
                                PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
                                New Zealand

                                I'm becoming less and less convinced of humans as rational beings.
                                I suspect we are merely meme collectors, and the reason meme is only
                                kept on to help count our change.
                              • acockburn@aol.com
                                Utterly brilliant! I wish I was still writing that section of my book - I d have this append or a tidied variant as a sidebar on meme exchange. Instead I ll
                                Message 15 of 19 , Aug 30, 2001
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                                  Utterly brilliant! I wish I was still writing that section of my book - I'd
                                  have this append or a tidied variant as a sidebar on meme exchange.
                                  Instead I'll attempt to quote it at cocktail parties...
                                  ...er, I mean... CONFIRM_MEME_873
                                  Alistair
                                  In a message dated 8/30/01 7:24:49 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
                                  extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:
                                  <<
                                  > From: John Carter <john.carter@...>
                                  > Subject: Re: reason meme
                                  >
                                  > blah TEAM_BONDING blah factoid_1 blah blah blah CONFIRM_MEME_132
                                  > blah blah blah CONFIRM_MEME_166 blah factoid_2.
                                  >
                                  > Now suppose he held meme 214, which is mutually exclusive to meme
                                  > 313. Then his record of a meeting where his colleague Greg presented
                                  > his case for 313 may look like...
                                  > blah blah REFUTE_MEME_214 blah CONFIRM_MEME_313 blah blah.
                                  >
                                  > However humans are seldom that objective. The record would probably go....
                                  > blah blah GREG_IS_A_TWIT blah GREG_IS_A_TWIT blah blah
                                  > >>



                                  Alistair Cockburn
                                  Humans and Technology

                                  Author of "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects"
                                  and the Jolt Productivity Award winning "Writing Effective Use Cases"

                                  7691 Dell Rd.
                                  Salt Lake City, UT 84121
                                  Work Phone: 801.947.9275
                                  Fax: 775.416.6457
                                  write to: alistair.cockburn@...
                                  http://members.aol.com/acockburn
                                  http://www.crystalmethodologies.org
                                  http://www.usecases.org



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Piers Cawley
                                  ... They can be a pig to read aloud though. When you ve said heterophenomenology for the 5th time in 3 paragraphs your tongue can start to get somewhat
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Aug 31, 2001
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                                    "Dale Emery" <dale@...> writes:

                                    > Hi Bryan,
                                    >
                                    > > > Sounds as if you've been reading Daniel Dennett's "Consciousness
                                    > > > Explained," which would more aptly have been titled "Consciousness
                                    > > > Explained Away." ;-)
                                    > > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Actually no, I haven't. Is it any good?
                                    >
                                    > I liked it. It's typical Dennett. If you've read any of his other
                                    > stuff, you'll like it just about as much as his other stuff. If not,
                                    > this is as good place to start as any of his books.
                                    >
                                    > When I finish reading any of Dennett's books, I'm never quite sure
                                    > what his conclusion is, or even whether he has stated one. But along
                                    > the way, I've had a lot of fun thinking odd thoughts.

                                    They can be a pig to read aloud though. When you've said
                                    'heterophenomenology' for the 5th time in 3 paragraphs your tongue can
                                    start to get somewhat confused.

                                    --
                                    Piers Cawley
                                    www.iterative-software.com
                                  • Bryan Dollery
                                    John Carter explained ... but its too long to repeat her. That was excellent, did you make it all up? Bryan ;-
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Sep 1, 2001
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                                      John Carter explained
                                      > <snip> - You can all go back to the original post if you want to read it,
                                      but its too long to repeat her.

                                      That was excellent, did you make it all up?

                                      Bryan ;->
                                    • Stephen Swope
                                      ... It _can t_ be proven. There s no empirical basis by which (to use Karl Popper s term) the theory can be falsified . That is, there is no way to produce
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Sep 3, 2001
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                                        --- acockburn@... wrote:
                                        > [re: Julian Jaynes, "The origin of consciousness
                                        > in the break-down of the bicameral mind"]
                                        > I still refer to his theory from time to time.
                                        > I don't really think it will be proven correct
                                        > in the end,

                                        It _can't_ be proven. There's no empirical basis by
                                        which (to use Karl Popper's term) the theory can be
                                        "falsified". That is, there is no way to produce a
                                        counter-instance in which the expected results of the
                                        theory do not obtain.

                                        I still think it's quite interesting, however.



                                        =====
                                        --
                                        Steve Swope
                                        solution architect, Atos Origin, Inc.
                                        http://steveswope.home.mindspring.com

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                                      • Larry Constantine
                                        One of our repeated claims--that up-front design is the route to truly world-class product design, especially for complex, highly-sophisticated
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Sep 17, 2001
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                                          One of our repeated claims--that up-front design is the route to truly
                                          world-class product design, especially for complex, highly-sophisticated
                                          applications--has received some independent support. The innovative IDE for
                                          PLC programming in automation applications that we helped Siemens AG design
                                          was just awarded first place in the annual Performance-Centered Design
                                          Competition. (You'll find details and our winning submission at
                                          http://foruse.com/.)

                                          This was a model-driven development based on essential use cases and
                                          usage-centered design. It may not be XP, but I would argue that the 14 week
                                          up-front design by the 5-person design team represents an acceptably small
                                          initial commitment to get it right the first time around on a 2-year-plus
                                          effort with a dozen-and-a-half developers. The big payoffs came from
                                          complete task modeling, which enabled a design that markedly cut user steps
                                          and errors through a close fit to the work, and from abstract prototyping,
                                          which led to an innovative and effective user interface design. (one judge
                                          in the competition described the design as "enormously impressive,...a
                                          wonderful stretching of the EPSS [electronic performance-support system]
                                          paradigm.")

                                          Clients trying usage-centered design on smaller projects as a run-up to XP
                                          are finding that a proportionate level of time and resource investment prior
                                          to the XP work yields big returns. Perhaps others in this group have
                                          relevant experiences to share.

                                          --Larry Constantine
                                          Director of Research & Development | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
                                          58 Kathleen Circle | Rowley, MA 01969
                                          t: +1 978 948 5012 | f: +1 978 948 5036 | www.foruse.com
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