The Design Process: It’s about vision and optimizing the scarce resource, says F. Brooks

Master Planner: Fred Brooks Shows How to Design Anything

Take it from a man that grew up in the 1940s: The design process is chiefly about planning how to achieve desired results with the resources at hand, and about understanding the deep-rooted need for the desired goals, via vision.

Computer scientist Fred Brooks explains:

“The critical thing about the design process is to identify your scarcest resource. Despite what you may think, that very often is not money. For example, in a NASA moon shot, money is abundant but lightness is scarce; every ounce of weight requires tons of material below. On the design of a beach vacation home, the limitation may be your ocean-front footage. You have to make sure your whole team understands what scarce resource you’re optimizing.”

“Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, once said that his method of design was to start with a vision of what you want and then, one by one, remove the technical obstacles until you have it. I think that’s what Steve Jobs does. He starts with a vision rather than a list of features.”

Excerpts from: Master Planner: Fred Brooks Shows How to Design Anything, Wired Magazine, August 2010


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