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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at www.noop.nl, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Iterate Your Flawed Models

04.22.2011
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I recently came across the Top 15 Worst Logo FAILS ever. It lists a number of logo designs that, in all their innocence, invite all kinds of associations with some not so innocent human behaviors. I laughed so hard that part of my brain was dangling from my nose. I suppose it is proof of my wicked mind that I immediately recognized the problems in all logos.

Martie Unfortunately, a lot less funny was someone’s comment that my six-eyed monster, which I designed as an illustration for my upcoming book, looks suspiciously phallic in nature. Despite having a wicked mind, I had never noticed this myself. But now that the association has been mentioned, I am unable to get it out of my brain. I just cannot laugh hard enough about it.

At a recent Agile Holland event two other flawed designs were presented and discussed with the audience. One of them was RUP, and the other was PRINCE2.

RUPThe RUP model is flawed because it invites associations with the waterfall process.

The design (I apologize for the unsharp photo) clearly suggests that the RUP process starts with n iterations of specification. And there are no frequent releases in this model, because a release into production (as suggested by this model) only happens in the last phase, after everything else is finished.

PRINCE2The PRINCE2 model is flawed because it invites associations with Big Upfront Process Design.

The model depicts lots of process boxes, and they all have arrows leaving and entering them. (Note: the picture I took here is the simplified version.) Such a design makes it hard for people to see that they are allowed to pick and choose their own elements from PRINCE2, because if they do they end up with many arrows dangling from boxes that go nowhere.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The intentions of the creators of all these models were good. The Arlington Pediatric Center never intended to be a seen as a pedophilic center. Martie the Management Model never hoped to be seen as a male, six times over. And the RUP and PRINCE2 designers never wanted to suggest that you should create a big waterfall-like process upfront.

All models are wrong. Some are useful.
And some are just badly drawn.

As the designer of a logo, illustration, or process model, it is hard (if not impossible) to predict what people will recognize in your designs. You cannot easily peek into the devious and twisted minds of your viewers. It is easiest just to show them what you’ve designed. Let them have a good laugh. And then try again.

As will I.

References
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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