3.09 – Why? What if? How?

Just as I’m thinking about questions, this pops up on Twitter from Tom Hulme:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 21.47.16

That’s a good set of questions. The former, I mean, not the latter. A way of finding the important things to be asking of every piece of work you do (“why are we doing this again?”).

What I’m going to do is something I thought I might do at a different part of the project (later), but now seems relevant to do it now. It was also something I had to do anyway, but am crap at doing so; reflecting on projects. I very seldom spend enough time reflecting on projects I’ve done, either big or small, just get very excited and into the next thing.

And I find it really hard to put them up as ‘case studies’ on the site, because it feels like marking your own homework.

I just don’t believe the version of stuff that people put up in “our work”. And I certainly don’t believe what they say in awards entries… awards shows are a plague on every profession that needs to die, let’s be clear.

So what Tom’s thing above might do is frame this in a new light for me. Usually, “our work” sections concentrate on solutions, what the answers were. But instead, I’m going to blast through every Smithery project over the last three years, and write it up as a quick thing on a separate projects part of the site (don’t worry, you’re not about to get a whole post with 50+ projects written up).

Each will cover:

WHY?
Why did someone call in Smithery?

WHAT IF?
What emerged from conversation and discovery?

HOW?
What sort of thing might we look to do?

RESPONSE:
What did we do.

It’s going to be really fast and light for each one, I think, regardless of scale. But it’s the thinking carefully about each of the first three questions that’ll be most important. “Once you know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means” as a big computer said once.

That last one, rather than ‘answers’, or ‘solutions’, I’ve stolen from Simon Collison‘s idea (which James Box put me onto) and used ‘response’:

“Find problems and design responses. Not answers, not solutions, just responses. There’s rarely a single right way, so just explore problems and see what happens.” – Simon Collison

So we get back to ‘exploring problems and seeing what happens’, and suddenly it occurs again to the idea that we could use the matrix as a scenarios board / game / map etc.

 

Relativity Matrix 1.02

 

See, it’s almost like this is all planned out. It isn’t, but we can always pretend afterwards that it was….

ACTION 09: REFLECT ON A PROJECT YOU’VE DONE. WHAT WERE THE GOOD QUESTIONS?

PREVIOUSLY – 3.08 – Ask Good Questions

NOW READ 3.10 – POINTS OF INTEREST

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3 responses to “3.09 – Why? What if? How?”

  1. […] NOW READ – 3.09 – Why? What if? How? […]

  2. […] started going through all previous Smithery Projects, as outlined in 3.09, to draw out the right sort of strategic questions that I’ve asked previously (or should have […]